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Ukraine war latest: Russian infantry activity rising in southeast, general says

by Alexander Khrebet and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 3, 2023 11:39 PM 4 min read
Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions in the Avdiivka axis in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on Dec. 1, 2023. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Dec. 3:

  • Ukraine investigates Russian troops allegedly executed 2 Ukrainian POWs
  • Tarnavskyi: Russian forces have intensified infantry activity on the southeastern front line
  • Russian attack on Kherson kills 2, injures 7
  • Official: Russia has lost over 7,200 troops, 530 pieces of hardware over past week

Russian forces have intensified infantry activity on the southeastern front line, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Tavria Group, reported on Dec. 3.

He said 55 skirmishes between Ukrainian and Russian were forces recorded  on the southeastern front lines over the past day.

The attacks on Avdiivka, the gateway to occupied Donetsk, a major city in the Donbas, have been very costly for Moscow.

Russia has lost 7,210 troops and 534 pieces of military hardware over the past week, First Deputy Defense Minister Oleksandr Pavliuk reported on Dec. 3.

Starting from Nov. 27, Russian losses include 62 tanks, 117 armored personnel carriers, 75 artillery systems, six multiple-launch rockets systems, five air-defense systems, 144 vehicles, and 27 units of some special equipment.

Ukrainian forces have also destroyed 94 Russian drones, he said.

Earlier in the day, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported that Russia has lost 332,040 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

The Kyiv Independent couldn't independently verify these claims.

Ukraine investigates Russian troops allegedly killing 2 POWs

The Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation on Dec. 3 of the alleged killing of two Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW) who surrendered to Russian troops in Donetsk Oblast, the prosecutors said on Dec. 3.

In a video published online on Dec. 2, a group of soldiers appears to kill two other soldiers emerging from a trench. One of the two had his hands behind his head.

The same day, the Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russian troops killed two Ukrainian POWs.

The Kyiv Independent couldn't independently verify the statement by the Strategic Communications Directorate.

Killing of POWs violates the Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime.

According to prosecutors, Russian troops entered Ukrainian positions near the village of Stepove in Donetsk Oblast. When two Ukrainian soldiers were forced to surrender, the Russian soldiers shot them dead.

According to the DeepState, a Ukrainian Telegram channel, the soldiers served in Ukraine's 45th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade.

“Russia has once again proved that it is a terrorist country for which there are no laws and norms of international law,” Ruslan Stefanchuk, a speaker of Ukraine's parliament, said on X, foremrly known as Twitter, on Dec. 3.

Oleksandr Shtupun, the spokesman for the Tavria group of forces, told the Kyiv Independent on Dec. 3 that the Russian troops that participated in the killing Ukrainian POWs were killed in action.

“According to the report on the ground, that group of the enemy (no longer) exists,” Shtupun said.

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Russia hits residential area, hospitals in Kherson

Russian shelling of a residential area and two hospitals in Kherson killed two people and injured seven others, Roman Mrochko, the head of the city’s military administration, reported on Dec. 3.

Mrochko’s recent report, however, contradicts the one from Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin, who said on Telegram that one person was killed and seven were injured.

According to Prokudin, among those injured are women aged 35–52 years old, as well as men aged 28-46.

Due to proximity to the Russian positions, Kherson is subjected to daily Russian artillery barrages that kill and injure civilians, and damaging infrastructure.

Ukraine's Armed Forces liberated Kherson and nearby settlements west of the Dnipro River in the fall of 2022.

Russian forces were pushed to the east of the river, from where they have since been firing at the liberated territories, regularly resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.

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