Key developments on Oct. 12
- Russian strike on Avdiivka kills at least 7 people
- Ukraine liberates 5 villages in Kherson Oblast
- Stoltenberg: Air defense to be 'top priority’ in NATO support for Ukraine
- Russia delivered 3 missile strikes, 4 airstrikes across Ukraine
Warning: This story contains a graphic image that some readers may find disturbing.
Russia’s morning strike on a crowded market in Avdiivka killed at least seven people and wounded eight on Oct. 12, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported.
"There was no military logic in this attack – only an unbridled desire to kill as many of our people as possible and frighten others," Kyrylenko said on Telegram.
The governor once again urged the remaining residents to evacuate from the embattled eastern region.
At least 979 civilians have been killed in Donetsk Oblast since Feb. 24. The death toll in the cities that used to be heavily bombarded by Russia and are currently occupied, such as Mariupol and Volnovakha, remains unknown.
Russia’s attack on Avdiivka’s central market comes as Ukraine continues its counteroffensive in the east and south. Ukrainian forces had recaptured 776 square kilometers of land in the first week of October.
The eastern counteroffensive had entered Luhansk Oblast, a mostly occupied region that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally declared as part of Russia in September.
Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were trying to build multiple lines of defense, including mining the front line. He added that the first wave of newly mobilized Russians had arrived on the battlefield, and that some of them have military experience.
Ukrainian forces are “moving forward little by little” while their positions continue to be shelled with rocket and barrel artillery, according to Haidai.
In neighboring Kharkiv Oblast, the Ukrainians liberated 91% of the territory that was occupied as of early September, a regional military administration spokeswoman said.
Ukrainian forces have liberated 75 villages and towns in Kherson Oblast as of Oct. 12, Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said on TV. Most of the southern region has been occupied since early March.
Yanushevych said 29 of them were liberated in October, including five new ones confirmed on Oct. 12.
The fighting is taking place in Beryslav, a city on the western side of the Dnipro River located close to Nova Kakhovka, deputy head of the Kherson regional council Serhiy Khlan said.
It is about 70 kilometers northwest of occupied Kherson, the only regional capital Russia has been able to capture since Feb. 24 and Ukraine’s ultimate target in the south.
Facing battlefield setbacks, Russians had reportedly brought Iranian instructors to the southern occupied territory to help train their troops to use Iranian-made drones more effectively, according to the Center for National Resistance, a website launched by the Special Operations Forces of Ukraine’s military.
While cheaper than cruise missiles, the U.K. intelligence said the Iranian drones are "slow and fly at low altitudes" with a small explosive payload, unable to fulfill "the deep strike function which Russia probably aspired to use it for.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the sixth Ramstein meeting at Brussels’ NATO headquarters was “pretty productive.”
The two-day summit was aimed at providing Ukraine with more air defense systems at what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called a "pivotal moment for our security."
Stoltenberg called upon about 50 countries supplying arms to Ukraine to “ramp up” their support for the war-torn country, underscoring that “the top priority will be more air defense for Ukraine.”
"The reality is that they're not able to make progress on the battlefield. Russia is actually losing on the battlefield," he said.
More allies announced delivery of more air defense systems and other forms of aid. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin commented that Ukraine will be battling through harsh winter.
"The whole world has just seen yet again the malice and cruelty of Putin's war of choice, rooted in aggression and waged with deep contempt for the rules of war," Austin said.
Casualties and attacks
Russian forces launched three missile strikes and four airstrikes across Ukraine on Oct. 12, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
Russia’s attacks targeting Ukraine’s energy systems continued. In northeastern Sumy Oblast, Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said early on Oct. 12 that two districts had undergone a power outage after another round of Russian shelling.
In central Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian forces struck energy infrastructure in an area near the regional center of Dnipro. He urged residents to minimize the use of electricity.
In the same region, a six-year-old girl had her legs amputated after Russian shelling injured her in Nikopol, a doctor said.
Russian forces launched about seven S-300 missile systems on Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine overnight, two of which hit districts in the city, Governor Oleksandr Strakh said. In one of the attack sites, a residential building was partially destroyed but rescuers managed to pull three people out of the rubble, he added.
More than 70 people were killed in Zaporizhzhia over the past two weeks, Strakh said, adding that some bodies may still be under the rubble.