Russian forces have turned the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut into ruins, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, while Ukraine’s military on Saturday reported missile, rocket and air strikes in multiple parts of the country that Moscow is trying to conquer after months of resistance. The latest battles of Russia’s 9½ month war in Ukraine have centered on four provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin triumphantly — and illegally — claimed to have annexed in late September. The fighting indicates Russia’s struggle to establish control of those regions and Ukraine’s persistence to reclaim them. Zelenskyy said the situation “remains very difficult” in several frontline cities in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Together, the provinces make up the Donbas, an expansive industrial region bordering Russia that Putin identified as a focus from the war’s outset and where Moscow-backed separatists have fought since 2014. “Bakhmut, Soledar, Maryinka, Kreminna. For a long time, there is no living place left on the land of these areas that have not been damaged by shells and fire,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, naming cities that have again found themselves in the crosshairs. “The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbas city that the Russian army turned into burnt ruins.” Some buildings remain standing in Bakhmut, and the remaining residents still mill about the streets. But like Mariupol and other contested cities, it endured a long siege and spent weeks without water and power even before Moscow launched massive strikes to take out public utilities across Ukraine. The Donetsk region’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, estimated seven weeks ago that 90% of the city’s prewar population of over 70,000 had fled in the months since Moscow focused on seizing the entire Donbas.