Russia ramping up attacks in eastern Ukraine

Russian forces were ramping up attacks in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, Moscow and Kiev said, as they vie to secure elusive territorial gains before the end of the year.

Despite the frontlines having barely shifted in 2023, fighting has remained intense, with the nearly encircled industrial town of Avdiivka the latest major flashpoint.

Russia launched a renewed bid to capture the war-battered town last month and analysts suggest Moscow's forces have made incremental gains, though at an enormous human cost.

"The enemy has doubled its artillery fire and airstrikes. It has also intensified ground infantry attacks, and is using armoured vehicles," said Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for Ukraine's army.

Improving weather conditions - following powerful storms across southern Ukraine and Russia earlier this week - have enabled Russia's forces to intensify their assaults and use drones again, he said.

Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the Ukrainian commander responsible for the area, also said Russia had "significantly increased" its activity around Avdiivka.

He said Russian forces had carried out nearly 20 airstrikes, launched four missiles, thrown 56 assault waves at his forces, and fired more than 1,000 artillery rounds.

Meanwhile, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed renewed concern Wednesday over increased fighting near the southeastern Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station that has remained under Russian control since the invasion.

"Military actions have increased, and... we are seeing a multiplication of attacks in the vicinity," Rafael Grossi told reporters in France. "This is of great concern to us."

Avdiivka sits in a strategically important indent in the Russian frontlines of the Donetsk...

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