By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Heavy fighting continued around the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiyivka on October 28, even as representatives from dozens of nations met in Malta to discuss Ukraine-driven peace proposals and while Kyiv and Moscow exchanged accusations of attacks near nuclear-related sites in each country.
British intelligence, in its latest update, said Moscow had likely committed elements of up to eight brigades to the sector around Avdiyivka and probably had “suffered some of Russia’s highest casualty rates of 2023 so far,” appearing to back up remarks by Ukrainian leaders who claimed Kyiv’s forces had repelled multiple Russian attacks in the area.
Earlier this week, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that, since October 11, Russia has suffered significant losses, including at least 125 pieces of armored vehicles and military equipment in and around Avdiyivka.
Battlefield claims in the war cannot be immediately confirmed, and Ukrainian losses in the fighting could not immediately be determined..
Meanwhile, Moscow on October 28 accused Ukraine of deliberately attacking a nuclear-waste facility near the Russian city of Kursk, claiming Kyiv knew the action could have caused a major nuclear disaster.
A day earlier, Russia said it had thwarted a drone attack there, with Russian news outlets saying an explosion had damaged a warehouse storing nuclear waste, although no injuries were reported.
“According to preliminary data, the drones used in the attack on the nuclear power plant used components supplied by Western countries,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Kyiv generally does not confirm or deny operations inside Russian territory.
That incident came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said a Russian drone attack in the Khmelnitskiy region of western Ukraine likely had targeted the area’s nuclear power station.
The UN nuclear watchdog said the attack blasted out “numerous windows” at the site, but it added that it hadn’t disrupted the plant’s operations or its connection to Ukraine’s electricity grid.
On the Mediterranean island EU nation of Malta, representatives from more than between 50 countries were holding a third round of closed-door peace talks pushed by Ukraine but which Moscow dismissed as a “blatantly anti-Russian event” that had “nothing to do with the search for a peaceful resolution.”
Zelenskiy expressed hopes the two-day meeting would bolster support for his 10-point plan to end the war that began in February 2022 with Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Previous sessions were held in Saudi Arabia and Denmark over the summer.”This meeting is a powerful signal that unity is preserved around Ukraine,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said earlier in the week.