Monday, November 28, 2022

Ukraine war latest: Russia slowly advances in Donetsk Oblast as escalation continues in Belarus

by Asami TerajimaOctober 15, 2022 1:44 am

Ukraine war latest: Russia slowly advances in Donetsk Oblast as escalation continues in BelarusA soldier of Ukraine's 5th Regiment of Assault Infantry fires a US-made MK-19 automatic grenade launcher toward Russian positions less than 800 meters away at a front line near Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast on Oct. 12, 2022. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images)

Key developments on Oct. 14

  • Media: Lukashenko reportedly begins covert mobilization in Belarus 
  • Russia slowly advances in Donetsk Oblast 
  • Zelensky vows victory as Ukraine celebrates Defender’s Day
  • Russia fires 3 missiles, 10 airstrikes across Ukraine 

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit in Kazakhstan, dictator Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that Belarus has declared a “counter-terrorist operation regime” in the country due to what he called an “escalation” on the country's borders.

Lukashenko also said that Minsk has started to establish a joint regional military command with Russia – a decision that was announced earlier on Oct. 10. 

Lukashenko has repeatedly accused neighboring Ukraine of allegedly planning attacks on Belarus, without citing evidence. Ukraine has denied these claims and called for an international mission to monitor the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Earlier on Oct. 13, Belarusian Nasha Niva newspaper reported that Lukashenko has begun covert mobilization in Belarus, signaling a potential escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Neither the goals of the mobilization nor the scale of it is clear, the Belarusian publication said.

While Russia has used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Lukashenko has never sent his own troops to fight. 

Lukashenko has not publicly announced mobilization. 

The report comes a few weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for mobilization amid humiliating military defeats on the battlefield in Ukraine. Facing pressure, Russia has reportedly been dragging Belarus into openly joining the war.

Experts say the out-of-practice Belarusian army likely wouldn’t have a big impact on the war, but the growing Lukashanko-Putin ties have reignited concerns. 

Battlefield development

Russian forces have made tactical advances toward the eastern city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast over the past three days, U.K. intelligence said on Oct. 14. 

The Kremlin’s private military company Wagner likely remains “heavily involved” in the battle for Bakhmut, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. But Russian forces are facing “severe shortages of munitions and manpower” amid Ukrainian advances on other fronts, according to the intelligence report. 

Earlier on Oct. 13, Russian proxies claimed on Telegram that they had captured the villages of Opytne and Ivanhrad, located south of Bakhmut.

Ukraine’s military has not commented on these reports. 

In the south, Ukraine’s counteroffensive is taking place near the village of Mylove in Kherson Oblast, located some 100 kilometers northeast of occupied Kherson, local official Serhiy Khlan said.

Over the past month, Ukraine has liberated over 600 settlements in the country’s east and south as of Oct. 13, the reintegration ministry said.

The aftermath of a Russian attack on a residential building in Sviatohirsk, Donetsk Oblast on Oct. 9, 2022. (Carl Court/Getty Images)Casualties and attacks

Russian forces launched three missile strikes and 10 airstrikes across Ukraine on Oct. 14, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported. 

The death toll of the overnight Russian missile strike on Mykolaiv rose to eight, Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych reported. Among the victims killed in the Oct. 13 attack was an 11-year-old boy, who died in the hospital from cardiac arrest. 

Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine was struck with a missile strike again but no casualties were reported. 

In the eastern Donetsk Oblast, another four bodies of civilians were found in liberated territories, the oblast’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported.

As Ukraine marks Defenders Day, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed victory while thanking Ukrainian forces for their service. 

“Unbreakable, and that is why we are independent,” Zelensky said.

Asami Terajima
Asami Terajima
National reporter

Asami Terajima is a national reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She previously worked as a business reporter for the Kyiv Post focusing on international trade, infrastructure, investment and energy.

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