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There's been heavy fighting across the eastern frontlines, while Kyiv also reported renewed Russian shelling in the south of the country. Ukrainian forces are doing all they can to save Bakhmut amid some Russian advances, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk region military administration.
Here are more developments:
Military assistance. Ukraine's top national security official told CNN he's confident Ukraine will eventually receive American-made F-16 fighter jets, saying that "it's only a matter of time." And Leopard 2 battle tanks from Germany will be ready for Ukraine to use at the end of March, according to a tweet from the German army. Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov thanked Germany's pledge to send the tanks. Germany, as well as Denmark and the Netherlands, also announced they will send more than 100 Leopard 1 battle tanks to Ukraine by the spring of 2024. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the West's supplying of heavy weapons is dragging out the war and drawing NATO countries into the conflict.
Developments on the ground. Ukrainian officials reported at least six explosions in Kharkiv on Tuesday. And over the past 24 hours, more than 30 settlements in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions came under fire, with several districts and villages around Bakhmut coming under attack as well, the Ukrainian General Staff said. The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine on Tuesday dismissed Russia's claims that it has taken control of several small settlements in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Also, Russian forces in eastern Ukraine appear to be stockpiling ammunition and building up troop reserves ahead of an offensive that could begin in weeks, Ukraine’s top official in the Luhansk region said. Meanwhile, Ukraine's top national security official, Oleksiy Danilov, hinted at Kyiv's ability to strike Russia on its own territory, beyond occupied Ukraine.
Leadership changes. The Ukrainian government approved the appointment of three new regional governors on Tuesday in the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Zaporizhzhia region and the Kherson region, according to the Office of the President. Ukraine’s parliament has also approved the appointment of a new interior minister and head of the security dervice. Ukraine’s defense minister, whose continued tenure has been questioned by the leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament, on Tuesday posted the message “holding the line” on Twitter.
Ukrainian officials are reporting at least six explosions in Kharkiv on Tuesday.
"Enemy missile hits were spotted in the central part of Kharkiv. Preliminary, 6 to 10 S-300 missiles," said Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration.
“Information about the victims and the extent of the damage is being clarified," Syniehubov added, urging residents to stay in shelters.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said Tuesday that an industrial facility in the Kyivsky district of the city was hit by a strike.
The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine on Tuesday dismissed Russia's claims that it has taken control of several small settlements in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Ukraine said "their capture by the enemy has not been confirmed at this time" and that "the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to defend each of these areas."
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia's "operations are successfully developing" near the key towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar, and that Russian forces have taken control of several small settlements in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
CNN is unable to independently verify those claims.
Shoigu also said Russia has full control of Soledar, which the Ukrainian Armed Forces already announced their withdrawal from in January.
The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine also criticized Shoigu for touting the "achievements" of the Russian Armed Forces, arguing that the Russian private military contractor Wagner is actively involved in combat in those areas.
On Monday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk region military administration, spoke of the increase in Russian forces along parts of the frontline in Donetsk.
"There is accumulation of occupation troops and of what is left of the self-proclaimed DPR/LPR," he told Radio Liberty. "We are working day and night to strengthen our fortifications and defence line to repel the enemy and refrain them from fulfilling their plans."
Asked whether Bakhmut could be saved, Kyrylenko said: "We are not ruling out any scenarios....All measures are being taken not to let that happen."
"No-one will use Ukrainian defenders as cannon fodder. As of now, Bakhmut is standing. We are doing all possible to destroy as many enemies as possible."
Kyrylenko claimed that "almost 52% of Donetsk region is now controlled by Ukrainian government, Ukrainian Armed Forces."
He said approximately 500,000 civilians remain in parts of Donetsk controlled by Ukrainian forces, compared to 1.8 million just before the invasion.
Geolocated videos support the claim by a Russian military blogger that Russian forces have made incremental advances into Kharkiv region, north-east of the town of Kupyansk, which was recaptured by the Ukrainians in September. The videos show Ukrainian shelling of Russian troops in the town of Dvorichne, which was until recently in Ukrainian hands.
The Ukrainian military says there has been heavy fighting across several areas of the eastern frontlines, as well as renewed Russian shelling in the south of the country.
Unofficial social media accounts on both sides of the conflict have confirmed bitter fighting around the eastern city of Bakhmut, as Russian forces step up efforts to encircle and capture the city.
The Ukrainian General Staff said that over the past 24 hours, more than 30 settlements in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions came under fire. It also listed several districts and villages around Bakhmut as coming under attack.
Verified social media videos and unofficial military accounts indicate that Russian forces, which include the Wagner private military company, have made modest gains on the outskirts of Bakhmut amid intense street fighting.
The Wagner group, on its official Telegram account, claimed that its forces were "advancing through Bakhmut." They appear to be in control of villages immediately to the north of the city.
A soldier with the 46th Ukrainian Air Assault Brigade posted on an unofficial Telegram account that for "several days we watched the 'orcs' [Russians] storming Krasna Hora head-on and wondered why they were doing it – it was a waste of time and effort."
Krasna Hora is just north of Bakhmut, and close to one road that enters the city from the west.
The soldier, who has spoken several times with CNN, said the Russians then began to bypass Krasna Hora and the neighboring settlement of Paraskoviivka.
"This is where it became very uncomfortable," he wrote. "Now there is a threat of semi-encirclement of the town from the north."
He added that the Russians had reached another road that links Bakhmut and Konstantynivka — a town under Ukrainian control located a few miles to the west.
"They were pushed back, and now the fighting is for the highway itself," he said. "It is about 500 meters away. It is no longer suitable for supplying the city."
"Everything is decided by the battles to the north of the city and to the southwest on the Bakhmut-Konstantynivka highway. If the orcs fulfill this, then the garrison will be cut off. But so far, they have only been able to fulfill their plan by half," the soldier said on Telegram.
The Ukrainian government approved the appointment of three new regional governors on Tuesday, according to the Office of the President.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed decrees appointing the following officials:
- Serhiy Lysak is the new governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.
- Yurii Malashko will govern the Zaporizhzhia region.
- Oleksandr Prokudin has been appointed the new governor of the Kherson region.
The Biden administration has approved a $10 billion sale of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to Poland.
Congress was notified of the potential sale of 18 HIMARS and related equipment on Tuesday, according to a notice from the US State Department.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the notice said.
“The proposed sale will improve Poland’s military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” it continued. “Poland intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
Poland, which borders Ukraine, has served as a key partner to Kyiv in providing defense weapons, including Leopard tanks.
Leopard 2 battle tanks from Germany will be ready for Ukraine to use at the end of March, the German army said in a tweet Tuesday.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius visited Kyiv Tuesday, where he met with soldiers who will soon go to Germany to train on Leopard 2 tanks.
He said he was "deeply impressed" by the "determination" and "solemn faces" of the Ukrainian soldiers.