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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - KYIV: A Russian drone attack set ablaze the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine and knocked out power supply in three villages, while battlefield reports said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in frontline sectors in the east and northeast.
The fire at the Kremenchuk refinery, which Moscow has targeted many times and the Kyiv government says is not operational, was quickly put out, said Filip Pronin, head of Poltava region’s military administration. The extent of the damage was not clear.
Ukraine’s Air Force said air defenses shot down 18 of 20 drones and a missile fired by Russia overnight before they reached their targets in an attack that sought to strike military and critical infrastructure.
“The focus of the attack was Poltava region, it was attacked in several waves,” Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat told national television.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said troops had repelled eight Russian attacks near Kupiansk in the northeast, five near the shattered eastern town of Bakhmut, held by Russian forces, and five further south near Avdiivka, a focal point of Russian assaults since mid-October.
A video posted by the Ukrainian military showed its forces destroying a Russian flamethrower system near Avdiivka, an attack it said could be observed for dozens of kilometers.
Military analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko, in an article posted online, said some 40,000 Russian troops were now massed outside Avdiivka, widely viewed as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
“Despite its losses, the Russian command still intends to capture Avdiivka, which is now a political, rather than a tactical, aim,” Kovalenko wrote.
Natalia Khomeniuk, a military spokesperson in the south, said Russian forces had dropped 20 aerial bombs in Kherson region from positions they now hold on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River after abandoning the region’s main town last year. Russian forces shell the river’s western bank almost daily.
In Poltava region, three villages lost electricity after power lines and an unnamed infrastructure facility were damaged, the Energy Ministry said on Telegram.
Railway power lines were damaged by falling debris in central Kirovohrad region, but the damage was quickly repaired, Governor Andriy Raikovych said.
The Ukrainian military said Russia carried out another missile attack on Poltava region and southern Odesa region later on Wednesday, and two of the missiles in Odesa region were downed.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Russia made no immediate comment on the Ukrainian reports.
The Russian Defense Ministry’s accounts said its forces had hit Ukrainian troops and equipment in villages south of Bakhmut.
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