Russia and Ukraine announced the release of nearly 180 troops in a prisoner swap on Saturday, the latest in a series of exchanges that have become a rare intersection of interests for the two countries.
Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
Attacking Vuhledar, Russia previews new push to seize southeastern Ukraine: BOHOYAVLENKA, Ukraine — Russian forces have launched a midwinter surge of attacks in Ukraine’s hotly contested Donetsk region, probing Kyiv’s defenses along a fresh stretch of the sprawling eastern front as President Vladimir Putin’s commanders ready a new push to conquer all of southeastern Ukraine.
The attacks in recent days have centered on Vuhledar, a mostly deserted coal-mining city 70 miles southwest of Bakhmut, where Russian fighters have made some of their first territorial gains in months. Plumes of smoke rise almost constantly from Vuhledar, Steve Hendrix and Serhii Korolchuk report. The dark woods and rolling fields surrounding the city ring with mortar and artillery volleys from each side.
Vuhledar sits at a crucial bend in the battlefield near where the eastern front meets Russia’s line of control to the south, which in turn forms Putin’s much-coveted “land bridge” to Crimea from mainland Russia. It is close to a rail line connecting Crimea, a hub for Russian troops and supplies, and the Donbas region. The small city has been devastated by the fighting, with destroyed buildings on nearly every block, according to a Ukrainian platoon leader who was in Vuhledar this week.