Ukraine says waves of Russian troops ‘crushed’ in latest assault

Zelensky says Ukraine can ‘overcome the evil’ in Russia’s war

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Vladimir Putin is facing a fresh crisis after a Ukrainian colonel claimed Russian troops are being “crushed” during a fresh assault on a strategically critical town. Ukrainian military analyst Mykola Salamakha said Russian troops were mounting a series of attacks on Vuhledar as Russia looks to gain a foothold in the war but he claimed Moscow’s assault on the coal-mining town in Donetsk was coming at a huge cost for Putin’s men.

The Ukrainian colonel told Ukrainian Radio NV: “This is a repetition of the situation in Bakhmut – one wave of Russian troops after another crushed by the Ukrainian armed forces.”

He also added that an “extremely strong defensive hub” had been created there.

Earlier today, Ukraine’s General Staff said ina statement Ukrainian forces had fought off an attack from Russia in Bakhmut.

The city has been the focus of Russia’s offensive in the eastern Donetsk region, as well as in several other cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Denis Pushilin, the administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Donetsk, also said today is forces had gained a foothold in Vuhledar, southwest of Bakhmut, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

Russia’s Defence Ministry had insisted troops had taken up “more advantageous positions” in Vuhledar and inflicted losses on Ukrainian forces.

During his regular video address late last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned his country was facing a difficult situation in the eastern Donetsk province.

He once again appealed for faster weapons supplies and new types of weaponry, just days after Western allies agreed to provide Kyiv with dozens of heavy battle tanks.

Mr Zelensky said in his late night video address: “The situation is very tough. Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other sectors in Donetsk region – there are constant Russian attacks.”

“Russia wants the war to drag on and exhaust our forces. So we have to make time our weapon. We have to speed up events, speed up supplies and open up new weapons options for Ukraine.”

Last week, Ukraine was handed a massive boost after Germany finally said it will send Leopard 2 tanks to the war-torn country in the fight against Russia.

It also means Western and NATO allies can now send squadrons of the German-made vehicles following weeks of anger and frustration over Berlin hesitating on the issue.

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The latest developments come after Putin was warned he faces a “very bleak future” if he fails to score a “significant victory” in the next major offensives with Ukraine.

The Russian President has seen his army suffer a series of devastating blows in the conflict, with tens of thousands of troops being killed on the battlefield.

The first anniversary of the war is just a few weeks away on February 24, and there has been speculation Putin could announce a huge mobilisation of half-a-million troops in a desperate bid to boost his ailing plan.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer who served for nearly 30 years, claimed both Russia and Ukraine were gearing up for “major offensives” but warned this could be Putin’s “last roll of the dice”.

He told “The Ukrainians have taken a huge hit, but of course so has Putin.

“We all know things didn’t work out how we expected or how he conditioned the Russian people to expect, so he has to have a significant victory in the early part of this year if he can achieve it.

“If he can’t achieve that, it could be a very bleak future for him with the possibility of some kind of coo in Russia against him. He will be very mindful of that possibility.

“Putin is in a very strong position and still has huge popularity within Russia, despite this war. But we have also seen rumblings from some of the elites within Russia.

“The prospects of a popular Russian uprising against Putin are pretty low but the prospect of someone of significance in Moscow or a significant number of people deciding to move against him is possible.”

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