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Ukraine says Russia toned down attack on Bakhmut to regroup | Russia-Ukraine war news

Ukraine’s defense minister said Russian attacks had decreased as Moscow’s military was “replaced and restructured”.

Russian forces have temporarily eased their assault on the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut to regroup and bolster its capabilities, a senior Kiev official said.

Separately, senior Ukrainian officials said on Saturday their forces were ready to launch a long-promised counteroffensive to retake territory held by Russia since the war began.

Russia’s Wagner’s private army began handing over positions to regular troops this week after declaring full control of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malyar said in a statement on Telegram that Russian forces continued to attack, but overall offensive activity had decreased.

“Neither yesterday nor today was there any serious fighting – neither in the city nor on the flanks,” she wrote on Saturday, adding that Moscow’s troops had instead shelled the suburbs and the road to Bakhmut.

“The reduction in enemy offensive activity is due to the fact that troops are being replaced and reorganized,” Malial said. “The enemy is trying to strengthen its own capabilities.”

Interactive - Who controls what in UkraineKiev is expected to soon launch a much-anticipated counteroffensive to retake Russian-held territory.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told the BBC that the push could start “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or within a week”.

Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak told the Guardian in an interview that initial operations such as destroying supply lines or blowing up warehouses had already begun.

On Saturday, Ukrainian top general Valeriy Zaluzzhnyi released a beautifully produced video showing Ukrainian troops swearing in and preparing for battle.

“It’s time to return what’s ours,” he wrote.

“Massive provocation”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military intelligence has claimed, without providing evidence, that Russia is planning a “massive provocation” at a nuclear power plant it occupies in the southeast of the country with the aim of disrupting an imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Russian forces will attack the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, and then report a radioactive leak to trigger an international investigation, suspending hostilities and giving Russian forces the need to restart before a counterattack, a statement from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense Intelligence said on Friday. Gathering time for assembly.

To achieve this goal, Russia “suspended the rotation of the UN’s IAEA permanent monitoring mission scheduled for Saturday,” the statement said. It offered no evidence to support any claims.

There was no immediate comment from the International Atomic Energy Agency or Russian officials on the allegations.

The White House said it was closely monitoring the situation and found no signs of radioactive material leaking.

The claims mirror similar statements often made by Moscow, claiming, without evidence, that Kiev was planning a provocation involving a variety of dangerous weapons or substances in order to subsequently accuse Russia of war crimes.

The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant is one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world. It is located in the partially occupied Zaporizhia region of southeastern Ukraine. The plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months, but power and qualified personnel are still needed to operate critical cooling systems and other safety features.

Fighting near it has repeatedly disrupted power supplies and fueled fears of a potential catastrophe like Chernobyl in northern Ukraine, where a reactor exploded in 1986 and spewed deadly radiation, polluting the world A large area in the worst nuclear disaster ever.

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