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Volodymyr Zelenskyy back in Ukraine as Russia continues attacks

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued another defiant note upon returning to his country’s capital on Friday after his wartime visit to the United States, saying his forces were “working towards victory” even as that Russia had warned that there would be no end to the war until it achieved its military objectives.

Zelenskyy posted on his Telegram account that he was in his office in Kyiv after his trip to the United States that secured a new $1.8 billion military aid package, and promised that ” we will overcome everything”. Ukraine’s president also thanked the Netherlands for pledging up to 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 billion) for 2023, to help pay for military equipment and rebuild critical infrastructure.

Zelenksyy’s return comes amid relentless Russian artillery, rocket and mortar fire as well as airstrikes on the eastern and southern fronts and elsewhere in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the war would end at the negotiating table once the “special military operation” achieved “the goals the Russian Federation has set itself”, adding that “significant progress had been made in the demilitarization of Ukraine”.

Kremlin spokesman says no Ukrainian peace plan can succeed without taking into account ‘today’s realities that cannot be ignored’ – a reference to Moscow’s demand that Ukraine recognize sovereignty of Russia on the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, as well as other territorial gains.

At least six civilians have been killed and 18 others injured in Russian attacks on eight regions in southern and eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, according to Ukrainian officials.

In a regular Telegram update, Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said Russian missiles destroyed a boarding school in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, home of the Ukrainian army’s local headquarters.

Police officers check a school that was damaged in a Russian bombardment in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, December 22, 2022.

Andriy Andriyenko via Associated Press

The Ukrainian military said Russian forces fired multiple rocket launchers “more than 70 times” into Ukrainian territory overnight, as heavy fighting raged around the town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Bakhmut and Lyman in the neighboring Luhansk region as well as the front line between Luhansk and Kharkiv regions suffered the brunt of the Russian strikes, but did not specified to what extent.

No fewer than 61 Russian rocket, artillery and mortar rounds have been launched in the Kherson region over the past 24 hours. Kherson regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych posted on Telegram that Russian forces attacked from entrenched positions on the right bank of the Dnieper, hitting educational institutions, apartment buildings and private homes. Tymoshenko said renewed Russian shelling of the city of Kherson on Friday killed another person.

In the eastern regions of Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk, the Ukrainian military said Russia launched six missile strikes and as many air attacks against civilian targets, while Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks on or near proximity to 19 settlements in the north and east.

Russian shelling also hit a district hospital in the town of Volchansk in the northeastern Kharkiv region, injuring five people, according to local governor Oleh Syniehubov. Syniehubov posted on Telegram that the four men and one woman were all in “moderate condition”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said multiple explosions ripped through factory buildings housing Russian troops in the occupied town of Tokmak in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday evening, sparking a fire. The Strategic Communications Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not immediately report the victims or the identity of the perpetrators of the explosions.

Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian mayor of the southern town of Melitopol said a car used by Russian occupation forces had exploded, although it was unclear whether anyone was injured.

The reports came a day after a car bomb killed the Russian-appointed leader of the village of Lyubymivka in neighboring Kherson region, according to Russian and Ukrainian reports. Ukrainian guerrillas have been operating behind Russian lines in occupied southern and eastern Ukraine for months, targeting Kremlin-installed officials, institutions and key infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit an arms factory in Tula, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Moscow, on Friday and chair a meeting there on the nuclear industry. the armament of the country.

Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

The Huffington Gt

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