Ukrainian troops damaged the main bridge near Melitopol, reports said

Supply lines to Russian forces are likely to be affected after the bridge over the Molochna River partially collapses

Ukrainian troops are reported to have damaged a major bridge outside the southern city of Melitopol, Kyiv's main objective in the region.

The crossing over the Molochna River lies between Melitopol and the village of Kostyantynivka just east of the city on the M14 highway and occurs overnight.

Videos posted online showed two of the bridge's supports having been damaged during the attack, with spans partially collapsing in the explosion, rendering it reportedly unusable for heavy military traffic.

The attack on the bridge came just two days after Ukraine hit Russian barracks located in a resort in the city, with Himars rockets causing heavy damage and loss of life. Ukraine's increased pressure on Russian troops in Melitopol appears to follow a similar pattern to the tactics used against Kherson prior to its liberation, with the targeting of Russian troops and supply lines, including logistical lines to the Crimean peninsula and eastward through the Russian-occupied cities to Berdiansk and Mariupol. .

With Ukrainian troops now operating east of the Dnipro River, Melitopol is seen as Kyiv's main destination in the south of the country after retaking Kherson.

In the east of the country, where there has been heavy fighting recently around the town of Bakhmut, both Russia and Ukraine said on Tuesday that the situation on the battlefield in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk was difficult, with each claiming some success in pushing back another. attack.

The so-called Donetsk People's Republic is one of four regions in Ukraine that Moscow proclaimed its own in September in exercises that Ukraine and its allies denounced as a “fake”, forced referendum.

Neighbor of a young man who was killed in a Russian rocket attack on Karabell Island in Kherson, Ukraine on December 12, 2022. The city of Kherson in Ukraine and its surrounding villages are being bombarded daily by Russian forces.

Advancing in some areas of the region was difficult, said the top officials who installed Moscow in the occupied parts of eastern Ukraine, but they added that more than half of Donetsk was under Russian control.

"A little more than 50% of the territory of the People's Republic of Donetsk has been liberated," Denis Pushilin, administrator of the Moscow-controlled area to Russia, told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency.

The Ukrainian military command said in its daily battlefield update on Tuesday that its forces had pushed back the Russians in 10 areas of the region.

Russia claims to be gradually advancing its position, with the defense ministry saying on Monday that its attack there had killed 30 Ukrainian military personnel the day before.

However, independent assessments of Russia's gains suggest little progress in weeks of heavy fighting as Ukraine has moved to shore up its positions ahead of the arrival of full winter conditions on the front.

The latest fighting comes as dozens of countries and international organizations backed up a new and urgent push Tuesday to keep Ukraine powered, fed, warm and mobile in the face of continued Russian aerial bombardment that has plunged millions of people into cold and darkness. in winter.

An international donor conference in Paris is expected to pool and help coordinate tens of millions of dollars in aid – both financial and in-kind – to be rushed to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months to help its beleaguered civilian population survive the freezing winter temperatures and long nights.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his opening speech at the conference, described the Moscow bombing of civilian targets as a war crime. He said the Kremlin was attacking civilian infrastructure because its troops were retreating on the battlefield.

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