Zelenskyy Thanks Those Helping Fight Against Invasion

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday thanked everyone who has helped Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, including soldiers, workers of the Emergency Service of Ukraine, the National Police, the National Guard and more.

“It is important that everyone remains committed to the common cause,” Zelenskyy said in his daily address.  “It is important that every week one can say, “I have contributed something of my own to the common defense.”

Earlier Saturday, power was restored at Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after it was lost on Friday, averting again a “nuclear catastrophe,” according to a statement by Ukraine’s Energy Ministry on Telegram.

“This is the eighth blackout which occurred at the [Zaporizhzhia plant] and could have led to nuclear catastrophe,” the statement said. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the outage and restoration of power.

The plant was occupied by Russia in March of last year and is no longer generating power but needs a supply of electricity to cool one of its four reactors, which is in a state of hot conservation, meaning it has not fully been shut down.

The ministry said that after losing grid connection the plant turned on 20 backup generators to supply its electricity needs.

At 7 a.m. local time, it said, Ukrainian specialists repaired the 750-kilowatt line that is again bringing power to the plant.

Eastern front lines

Fighting continues around the eastern Ukrainian towns of Avdiivka and Marinka, with both Russia and Ukraine claiming advances. Ukraine’s General Staff said Saturday that Russian forces had been unsuccessful in their attempts to advance on villages near Marinka but said nothing of troop movements in the town.

Once a city of 10,000 Marinka, southwest of the Russian-held regional center of Donetsk, is now a ghost town, after almost a year of Russian efforts to seize it. There are no civilians left there.

For almost two months, Russian forces have been attacking the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, 40 kilometers north of Marinka. Ukraine says its forces control Avdiivka, though not a single building remains intact.

Ukrainian troops regained swaths of territory last year in a sweep through the northeast, but a counteroffensive launched in the east and south in June has made only incremental gains.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby called on the U.S. Congress on Friday to act swiftly to provide aid to Ukraine before the end of the month, after which it will become difficult to provide Kyiv with assistance it needs.

“We need that assistance immediately so we can provide them assistance in an uninterrupted way,” Kirby told a news briefing.

Kirby said the United States expects that Russia will try to destroy critical Ukrainian energy infrastructure this winter as it did last year.

Zelenskyy acknowledges that the advance has been slow but rejects any notion that the war is slipping into a stalemate.

He met with his military command Friday to discuss ways to produce “concrete results” in the war next year.

In his nightly video address, he spoke about improvements in mobilization methods.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

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