Ukrainian snipers set up ambush for Wagner fighters at industrial plant in Bakhmut, Border Guard says

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2 hr 6 min ago

Ukrainian snipers set up ambush for Wagner fighters at industrial plant in Bakhmut, Border Guard says

From CNN's Radina Gigova

As battles grind on between Ukrainian and Russian forces for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukraine's Border Guard Service released details Saturday about some encounters between Ukrainian troops and fighters from the Russian private military company Wagner. 

Industrial plants in Bakhmut are shown in a video published on the Border Guard website. CNN was unable to specifically geolocate the video but doesn't have a reason to believe the footage is not from Bakhmut. 

"The other day, the border unit of the Luhansk detachment conducted a positional battle with enemy forces in the area of one of the industrial enterprises," the Border Guard said in a statement. "The day before, the Ukrainian defenders withstood several assault attacks of the invaders." 
"To continue the offensive, the Russian mercenaries entrenched themselves in one of the workshops and gathered strength," the Border Guard said, adding that at this point the guards launched a counterattack.

A Ukrainian grenade unit was able to take down the machine gunner who was covering the entrance to the building. Then, a ground reconnaissance group of border guards were able to move in and "eliminated the Wagnerites," the Border Guard said.

CNN is unable to independently verify how the events unfolded. The Border Guard doesn't say what day the video was recorded. 

"To destroy the enemy's reserve, the border guards set up an ambush. With the onset of darkness, a surprise awaited the attack squads who were approaching the front line. Border snipers neutralized six invaders," the Border Guard said. 

Part of the video appears to show the moment described in the statement. The video also features a few comments from one of the Ukrainian soldiers. 

"About the situation in Bakhmut — they have already entered the industrial zone. We try to kick them out of there. They strengthened their positions there last night. My reconnaissance group entered their location this morning and is trying to attack their positions," the soldier said. 

Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Saturday that over the last 24 hours, more than 20 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken place within the territory of the city itself. 

Cherevatyi also said most of the Russian assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers.

3 hr 2 min ago

Spring brings hope in Kharkiv after a long, dark winter for Ukrainians

From CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne and Maria Avdeeva in Kharkiv

Miris. Miris. (Saskya Vandoorn/CNN)

Most of the power supply in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, was restored Saturday after a barrage of Russian drones and missiles targeted critical infrastructure and plunged the city into darkness yet again Thursday.

Miris, an 18-year-old resident of the city, says “spring brings hope” after a dark winter.

She smiled as she froths a cappuccino in a coffee shop with no generator.

“I was depressed because the blackouts meant I couldn’t do the things I normally do,” Miris told CNN. But she’s learned to adapt, and when there’s no electricity, she trades in her favorite TV show for a book.

“I’ve had a whole year to get used to this kind of living. You simply try not to think about where the strike was and who was harmed,” Miris said.

Natalia, left, and Svetlana.Natalia, left, and Svetlana. (Saskya Vandoorn/CNN)

Natalia Abramova, 53, lost her father two days ago but was unable to call her siblings or relatives with the news because of the power outage.

“His heart gave way,” Abramova told CNN. “Not just because of the disease he was fighting, but all the worrying weighed it down.”  

Despite the pain, Abramova remains defiant.

“The Russians failed because these strikes have only made people angrier, and we are now waiting for victory,” she said.

3 hr 53 min ago

Watch: Ukrainian drone hunters shoot down Russian missiles

Day and night, Ukrainian drone hunters are scanning the sky to spot and shoot down Russian missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

CNN's Melissa Bell visited a team of Ukrainian servicemen who knock down the Russian attacks using a machine gun mounted on an armored vehicle, maximizing their agility at the expense of the comfort of more permanent setups.

An influx of Western equipment to aid in Ukraine's defense has been making an impact. When Russia launched one of its biggest aerial assaults of the conflict this week, Ukraine's military was able to intercept around a third of the 95 missiles fired.

4 hr 27 min ago

Ukraine is implementing extra security measures after this week's massive attack, interior minister says

From CNN's Dennis Lapin and Radina Gigova

Officials are putting extra security and defense measures in place across Ukraine to protect critical infrastructure and residential areas from another potential country-wide Russian attack, Ukraine's Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on national television Saturday.

"I can say that we are always ready for the so-called 'retaliatory strikes' (missile attacks) when the enemy insidiously destroys not only critical infrastructure facilities but also residential buildings," he said. 

"I would like to remind you that since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, more than 40,500 such strikes have been carried out on the territory of our country. About 152,000 residential buildings and about 400,000 public infrastructure facilities have been destroyed," he added.

Klymenko said he could not elaborate on the details of the extra security measures but said authorities are trying to help residents feel safe, especially in the cities where the biggest attacks occurred. Officials are securing the centers where people can find shelter, warm up and charge their devices, and are conducting "intensified patrols," he said.  

On Thursday, Russia launched a widespread attack on Ukraine using an array of 95 missiles, including six Kinzhal ballistic missiles that have the ability to elude Kyiv’s air defenses, the Ukrainian military said.

This map shows the regions that were affected:

4 hr 52 min ago

Wagner chief claims further advancements toward center of Bakhmut

From CNN's Radina Gigova, Uliana Pavlova and Dennis Lapin 

Wagner private military company chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed his fighters have made further advancements toward the embattled city of Bakhmut, posting a video Saturday in which he claims to be standing about 1.2 kilometers (less than a mile) away from the administrative center of the city.

"That's about a five-story building where the smoke comes from — the building of the city administration, the administrative center of the city. It's one kilometer and 200 meters away," Prigozhin said in the video as he pointed in that direction. 

CNN has geolocated the video, and it appears to show the area where Prigozhin said he was at the time. 

"This is the place where the Armed Forces of Ukraine will conduct a counteroffensive from the north, it is important for us that the warriors cover our flanks," he said. 
"If the flanks are covered, then everything is in order, if not, then PMC Wagner will be surrounded, along with the Ukrainians who are inside Bakhmut," he added. 

The eastern city, located in Donetsk region, continues to be the site of some of the fiercest fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces. 

What Ukraine says: Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Saturday that over the last 24 hours, more than 20 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken place within the territory of the city itself. 

Cherevatyi also said most of the Russian assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers. 

According to the UK Defence Ministry, forces fighting for the Russian government have now taken control of most of the eastern part of the city, and the river in the city center now marks the front line. But it added that Ukrainian forces still hold the west of Bakhmut and have made it difficult for Russian-aligned troops to move forward — even turning one strip of open ground into a "killing zone."

6 hr 30 min ago

Russian paratroopers are reinforcing Wagner fighters in Bakhmut attacks, Ukrainian military spokesperson says

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Kostan Nechyporenko

As Russian attacks on the eastern city of Bakhmut continue, there have been more than 50 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces over the last 24 hours in the area, according to a Ukrainian military spokesperson.

"The enemy was actively conducting combat operations all week, just like the previous week. Yesterday was no exception," said Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, on national television Saturday. "Over the last 24 hours, the enemy attacked our positions in the Bakhmut sector 157 times with artillery and multiple rocket launchers."

Cherevatyi said Bakhmut itself was attacked 16 times, and 23 combat engagements took place within the city itself.

When asked which Russian units are leading the attacks on Bakhmut, and whether the tactics of the Russian forces have changed, Cherevatyi said most of the assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers. 

"The Wagner PMC has not been destroyed, we are only on the way to (achieving that)," he said. 

On Friday, Cherevatyi said a third wave of fighters from the Wagner private military company fighting in the area are being replaced by Russia's regular army.

6 hr 34 min ago

Zelensky calls Finland's prime minister "a defender of a free Europe" after talks in Kyiv

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference in Kyiv, on March 10. Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference in Kyiv, on March 10. (Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin for the defense support packages her country is providing to Ukraine, as well as for its "participation in the tank coalition," according to a statement released by his office Friday. 

Marin was in Kyiv that day, where she held talks with Zelensky and Ukrainian officials, visited wounded soldiers and attended the farewell ceremony for a celebrated Ukrainian commander killed in Bakhmut, Dmytro Kotsiubaylo, whose call sign was “Da Vinci.” 

The talks between the two leaders focused on defense and security, his office said. 

"I am sure we will further strengthen this area of our cooperation for the sake of both our nations, our independence and sovereignty – of Ukraine, Finland and our European neighbors," Zelensky said, calling Marin "a true friend of Ukraine, a defender of a free Europe."

According to the statement, Marin said, "I am very pleased to meet with Mr. President Zelenskyy in person today in Kyiv. You are a symbol of courage, bravery and the prospect of a better future for Europe."

"We support President Zelenskyy's Peace Formula and want this plan to start working. It is only lasting peace that can give our family of European countries, the Euro-Atlantic family, calm and prosperity. We want Ukraine to join NATO as one of the allies," she continued, according to the statement.

The leaders also discussed increasing sanctions pressure on Russia, Ukraine's reconstruction, as well as the establishment of a special tribunal for Russia's aggression against Ukraine. 

On Friday, Zelensky also held talks with Norway's Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram, who was on a visit to Kyiv as well. 

6 hr 39 min ago

3 people killed by Russian shelling in Kherson, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Radina Gigova 

Police investigators inspect a shell crater left by a Russian military strike in Kherson, Ukraine, on March 11. Police investigators inspect a shell crater left by a Russian military strike in Kherson, Ukraine, on March 11. (Ivan Antypenko/Reuters)

Three people were killed and two others were wounded by Russian shelling in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine Saturday, a regional leader said.

The attack happened on the Mykolaiv highway, according to a Telegram post from Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson region's military administration.

Fragments of Russian ammunition apparently hit a car on the road, Prokudin said. Rescuers, medics and police were working at the scene.

3 hr 53 min ago

The head of Wagner says his group is fighting to make sure there is no "disgrace" of Russia

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova, Radina Gigova and Nathan Hodge

egeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, said in a video published Saturday that his fighters have one "simple" goal -- not to allow the "disgrace" of Russia at the hands of Western governments.

“What is our goal? Why are we fighting? The goal is simple. To not disgrace Russian weapons, to not disgrace Russia,” Prigozhin said in the video message published on Telegram. “Not to bring Russia to the point where it collapses itself."
Progozhin continued:
"Most likely this is the goal of the American, British intelligence services, which work for the long haul and work to destroy Russia, in which the ruler must continue losing ratings, the army must become weaker and weaker until the Russians say: 'what the heck is our self-consciousness?' Let us be ruled,” he said.

Though Prigozhin was a shadowy figure before Russia's war in Ukraine, he has become an increasingly public presence as Wagner forces have gotten more involved in the conflict.

After Russia’s military suffered humiliating setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, Prigozhin -- a canny political entrepreneur without any official government position -- began openly taking credit for Wagner’s efforts to secure some territorial gains, particularly in the battles raging around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

His unexpected rise prompted speculation about possible elite infighting in Moscow as Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine sputtered.

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