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Explosions were heard in Kyiv and other Ukrainian regions in the early hours of Thursday, as authorities reported a countrywide air attack.
"Multiple explosions have occurred in the capital, in the Darnytskyi and Dniprovskyi districts. Emergency services are en route to the affected areas,” Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on Telegram. Other explosions were reported in the Desnianskyi district.
The Kyiv city military administration said the capital's air defenses were activated, resulting in falling debris in the Darnytskyi district, which caused a fire.
"Data on casualties and damage are currently being updated. Remain in your shelters until the air raid alert is over!" Serhiy Popko, the head of the city military administration, said on Telegram.
Nationwide air raid alert: Air defense forces in Vinnytsia, in west-central Ukraine, were activated to "countering airborne threats,” Serhiy Borzov, the head of the region's military administration, said on Telegram.
"We are currently facing another wave of cruise missile attacks from the enemy!" Borzov wrote.
Heavy fighting continues in the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian military official said. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar acknowledged that both Ukrainian and Russian troops have made advancements in the embattled city.
Here's what else to know:
On the ground. Ukraine's forces are holding on to substantial areas around Bakhmut that it claims to have taken back from Russian troops, according to Maliar. Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner private military company, said his fighters have advanced 260 meters [0.16 miles] in Bakhmut. Videos emerging from the city show intense shelling and heavy destruction in the western part of Bakhmut, the last area where Ukrainian forces have a presence.
Meanwhile, according to the General Staff, the Russians are continuing to try to improve their “tactical situation” in the Kharkiv region's Kupyansk sector — where there had been unsuccessful offensives close to the Oskil River and heavy shelling of Ukrainian-held areas. The General Staff added that the situation had been quieter in another hotspot, around Avdiivka in Donetsk and that Russian forces in occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia had continued to shell settlements in the area, striking more than 20 places over the last day.
Sanctions. A Hungarian official said Wednesday it would be very difficult for Hungary to join the European Union’s next round of sanctions against Russia after Ukraine blacklisted a Hungarian bank. A senior EU official said later Wednesday that it’s not for the EU “to decide what private banks do. But again, we have to deal with a question that is influencing and affecting decisively one of our main foreign policy objectives, which is to support Ukraine.”
Damaged Patriot system components. Two components of a Patriot battery were damaged in a Russian attack Tuesday, but the system “was never offline," according to a US official familiar with the matter. The Russian barrage damaged the Patriot battery’s generator and part of the system’s electronics.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner private military company, said his fighters have advanced in Bakhmut amid fierce fighting surrounded by the remaining buildings still controlled by Ukrainian troops.
"Wagner PMC has advanced 260 meters [0.16 miles] more in Bakhmut," Prigozhin posted on the Telegram channel of his Concord Group. "The enemy now occupies 1.85 km of territory [1.15 miles]. The enemy offers fierce resistance. They fight for every house, every entranceway, every square meter of territory, despite the fact that the enemy only occupies a tiny percentage of territory.”
Prigozhin added it wasn't possible to surround remaining Ukrainian positions because of the recent withdrawal of Russian paratroopers.
“Really [what happened was], Russian paratroopers, as a result of an enemy assault near Bakhmut, took up a favorable line, for the enemy,” he said.
Taking aim at Valery Gerasimov, the Russian General Staff chief, Prigozhin said “the instantaneous retreat of Gerasimov from the enemy today does not allow to close [Bakhmut] off. But we are advancing.”
Prigozhin has frequently been at odds with the Russian Defense Ministry on its tactics and leadership in the conflict.
Two components of a Patriot battery were damaged in a Russian attack Tuesday, but the system “was never offline," according to a US official familiar with the matter.
The Russian barrage —which consisted of hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, Kalibr cruise missiles and other munitions — damaged the Patriot battery’s generator and part of the system’s electronics.
The damage was minimal, according to three other US officials, with one describing it as “minor.” The system remained functional throughout the attack and remains online, an official said.
The US sent inspectors to examine the system on Tuesday, after being told by the Ukrainians that the system appeared to have been damaged, one of the officials said.
US officials are still assessing how exactly the Patriot components were damaged since it does not appear that any of the components sustained a direct hit from a Russian Kinzhal missile or other munition.
One possibility is that debris from a falling missile damaged the Patriot components, but officials are examining other options as well.
A Hungarian official says it would be very difficult for Hungary to join the European Union’s next round of sanctions against Russia after Ukraine blacklisted a Hungarian bank.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó described the move by the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK) to include Hungarian Bank OTP on its list of “international sponsors of war” as “outrageous.”
He added “that as long as OTP stays on this list, it will be very difficult for us to even enter into negotiations on the eleventh sanctions package,” and “it will be very difficult for us to negotiate economic restrictions that require additional sacrifices.”
In a statement earlier this month, NAZK said the decision to classify OTP bank as an international sponsor of war was “due to the position of the bank’s management to continue operations in Russia” as well the bank’s “recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics.’”
The Hungarian Foreign Minister refuted Kyiv’s claims on Monday, saying that as Hungary’s biggest bank, “OTP has not violated any international laws. Its operations fully comply with all kinds of expectations and legislation.”
Szijjártó also said placing the bank “on the list of international sponsors of war is unacceptable and scandalous.”
What the EU is saying: A senior EU official, briefing journalists in Brussels on Wednesday, said the EU’s priority “is to ensure that we can support Ukraine so that they can win,” and that “we're going to talk to the Ukrainian side. We'll talk to the Member States, talk to Hungary, of course.”
The senior official said it’s not for the EU “to decide what private banks do. But again, we have to deal with a question that is influencing and affecting decisively one of our main foreign policy objectives, which is to support Ukraine.”
“It's affecting our decisions on military and financial support. We have to deal with that, we will be dealing with that and I can tell you that the High Representative [Josep Borrell] is already dealing with that,” the official added.
The official also said that EU Foreign Ministers will discuss the issue on Monday in Brussels at a scheduled meeting. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will also attend the meeting virtually.
The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces launched S-300 missiles at Bakhmut, adding that there were air strikes in several locations around the city.
“Heavy fighting for Bakhmut continues. In addition, during the day the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the direction of Ivanivske,” the military’s General Staff said.
Ivanivske is a village to the west of Bakhmut.
Meanwhile, videos emerging from Bakhmut show intense shelling and heavy destruction in the western part of the city, the last area where Ukrainian forces have a presence.
Video published by the Russian state agency RIA Novosti, as well as RIA FAN, showed Russian fighters moving through abandoned apartment buildings and across courtyards littered with debris.
Drone video of Bakhmut showed clouds of gray smoke rising from several neighborhoods — with an Orthodox church on the western outskirts of Bakhmut as one of very few buildings apparently unscathed. It’s not clear exactly when the videos were shot.
Across the front lines, the General Staff said there were 32 airstrikes. That would be slightly lower than the recent average, according to Ukrainian estimates.
What the situation is like in other parts of Ukraine: In the northern region of Kharkiv, according to the General Staff, the Russians are continuing to try to improve their “tactical situation” in the Kupyansk sector — where there had been unsuccessful offensives close to the Oskil River and heavy shelling of Ukrainian-held areas.
The General Staff added that the situation had been quieter in another hotspot, around Avdiivka in Donetsk, where “the enemy did not conduct any offensive actions over the last day.”
The military officials said Russian forces in occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia had continued to shell settlements in the area, striking more than 20 places over the last day.
Before-and-after satellite imagery below shows the damage done to the hard-hit eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut over the past year.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar provided Kyiv's assessment Wednesday on the situation on the ground, saying Ukraine's forces are holding on to substantial areas around Bakhmut that it claims to have taken back from Russian troops.
The official noted that "almost 20 square kilometers" of liberated areas in the suburbs have not been lost and that "fierce fighting" continues around the city, with Ukrainian troops advancing in some areas. She also acknowledged that Russian troops are "advancing somewhat" as well.
The images were provided first to CNN by Maxar Technologies.
CNN's Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister contributed reporting to this post.
A deal allowing grain to be exported from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea has been extended, just one day before it was set to expire. Meanwhile, Russian shelling killed at least three Ukrainian civilians and Ukraine is holding onto gains in the Bakhmut area.
Here are the latest developments:
- Grain deal extended: A deal that allows grain to be exported from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea has been extended for two months. Both Ukrainian and Russian officials confirmed the deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, has been extended, just one day before it was set to expire.
- Deadly shelling in Kherson: A Ukrainian prosecutor said Russian shelling in a Ukrainian village in the Kherson area on Wednesday killed a 5-year-old child and two adults.
- US inspects damage: US inspectors found minimal damage to a Patriot air defense system following a Russian missile attack near Kyiv on Tuesday. The system is still operational and will not need to be removed from the battlefield for repairs, US officials confirmed.
- Holding Russia to account: The Council of Europe established a “Register of Damage” to help hold Russia accountable for damage, loss and injury caused by its aggression against Ukraine. "It is one of the first legally binding decisions to hold Russia accountable for its acts,” said the council’s secretary general, Marija Pejčinović Burić.
- Kyiv’s robust air defenses: Until recently, most analysts doubted Ukraine’s air defenses would be able to withstand a sustained Russian assault. And yet Kyiv has claimed to have escaped from Russia’s latest barrage – which involved at least 18 types of missiles and a swarm of drones on Tuesday – left them with barely a scratch. You can read more about what’s made Ukraine’s air defenses seemingly impenetrable here.
- Gains in Bakhmut: Despite reports of fierce fighting, Ukraine is holding on to substantial areas around Bakhmut that it claims to have taken back from Russian troops, and Ukrainian forces are still advancing in certain areas, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.