Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukrainian towns and military targets

Russia pounded military targets across Ukraine on Saturday in apparent retaliation for the sinking of a major warship and in preparation...


Russia pounded military targets across Ukraine on Saturday in apparent retaliation for the sinking of a major warship and in preparation for an offensive in the country’s eastern Donbass region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the strikes destroyed workshops at a tank factory in kyiv and a military equipment repair plant in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military factory on the outskirts of kyiv, called Vizar, which produced the Neptune anti-ship missile which sank the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva, in a major embarrassment for the Kremlin.

the coming battle in the east will largely take place in open terrain offering far fewer safe havens for Ukrainian fighters to hide in when launching attacks on Russian armored vehicles, as they did successfully in repelling Russian forces from around kyiv. Russian missile attacks from Friday to Saturday appeared calibrated to weaken Ukraine’s ability to withstand armored assaults in this context.

The strikes served as a reminder that wherever the fighting is focused on the ground, Russia can and will strike anywhere in Ukraine, and they underscored the importance of Ukraine’s industrial capacity, including its ability to manufacture and repair weapons.

Why Russia waited two months after the start of the war to target these facilities is unclear. While the strikes could have been a response to the sinking of the Moskva, the Russian Defense Ministry has not acknowledged that Ukrainian missiles hit the ship, which it says was fatally injured by a fire and an explosion of ammunition.

Some analysts have pointed to the recent appointment of a senior Russian battlefield commander in Ukraine, General Aleksandr V. Dvornikov, as a factor in Moscow’s strategy. It should address the lack of coordination and planning that has hampered Russian forces so far, reorganizing and redirecting them for the fighting in Donbass.

Saturday’s rocket and missile attacks also hit an airport in central Ukraine, the Black Sea port of Odessa, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the western city of Lviv. Explosions from at least one strike rocked Kyiv, the capital, and Ukraine’s air defense force said it shot down a volley of four cruise missiles in flight elsewhere in the country.

Moscow retaliated diplomatically against the West on Saturday, barring Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior British officials from entering the country over their support for Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Mr Johnson has been a leading voice in Europe against Moscow, and even traveled to Kyiv a week ago meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Britain has supplied Ukraine with new anti-ship missile systems, armored vehicles and other military equipment. Ukrainian fighters used light anti-tank weapons supplied by Britain to devastating effect against Russian armored vehicles.

In Germany, the economy minister called on people to reduce their energy use, including by drawing curtains and lowering the temperature in their homes, in what he described as a nationwide effort to to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels in response to its invasion. from Ukraine. Germany has joined other Western countries in imposing embargoes on Russian coal and possibly oil, but is reluctant to do the same with Russian gas, which represents more than half of its gas imports.

“We can only become more independent of Russian imports if we see them as a big common project in which we all participate,” Minister Robert Habeck told the Funke media group on Friday. He added, in reference to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin: “It’s easy on the wallet and annoys Putin.”

In the weeks after Ukrainian forces repelled the Russian attempt to seize kyiv, residents flocked to the city. But the explosions that shook the windows on Saturday were a stark reminder that the war is far from over, even far from the front.

Russian cruise missiles, the main weapon of Saturday’s attacks, can hit long-range sites across the country. Throughout Saturday, air raid sirens sounded in Kyiv, and overnight the distant thuds of exploding air defense missiles could be heard in the sky above the city.

“Our air defenses are working, our military is defending us, but there have been explosions all the same,” in a district southeast of the capital, kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement on Telegram. The strike killed one person and injured several others, he said.

In the statement, Klitschko said kyiv remains a target for Russia despite the defeat of its ground assault force, which hastily withdrew, leaving in its wake burnt-out tanks, its own war and hundreds of civilian bodies lying in the streets. Police said on Friday that they had found 900 civilian bodies so far in the Kyiv region, the administrative district surrounding the capital.

President Zelensky said in a late night speech on Saturday that Russian forces had been expelled from nearly 1,000 villages, towns and cities of various sizes across Ukraine. Most of the liberated communities are in the north of the country and suffered extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure during the month-long Russian occupation.

Mr Zelensky also acknowledged that the Ukrainian army had lost up to 3,000 soldiers in the fighting so far, while insisting that the Russian death toll was much higher.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, air defense forces said they shot down four cruise missiles flying towards Lviv and one missile exploded in mid-air near Odessa. Also near Odessa, Ukraine shot down an unmanned Russian aerial drone while carrying out reconnaissance of military sites, local authorities said.

Later, Mr Zelensky acknowledged that Russia appeared poised to take full control of Mariupol, a strategic southern port, with its troops controlling all but a small part of a besieged city they reduced to rubble. In recent days, Russian forces have advanced towards the city center, and the remaining Ukrainian troops, entrenched in the sprawling Azovstal steelworks and the port of Mariupol, are vastly outnumbered and desperately short of supplies.

“Nevertheless, our guys are defending heroically,” Zelensky said, speaking to Ukrainian media. “We are grateful to them.”

Near Kirovograd in central Ukraine, long-range Russian rockets hit an airport on Thursday night, according to a local mayor, who said there were dead and injured after the attack but no did not specify how much.

Cruise missile strikes in Kyiv continued almost daily during the war, but often hit targets in outlying areas, with little disruption to life in the revived city. The missiles have so far failed to hit key government buildings, including the presidential office and parliament – ​​whether they were targeted but successfully shielded by Ukraine’s air defenses is not clear.

“The war continues in Kyiv and we cannot relax,” said Galina Ostapenko, 72, a retired postal worker, who was walking in the courtyard of her building a block from the site of the strike on Saturday.

“What happened hurts my heart,” she said of the explosion in her neighborhood. “I will teach my grandchildren to hate Russians.”

As Russia steps up its attacks on Ukrainian military targets, Washington has accelerated its efforts to supply Ukraine with advanced weapons and long-range artillery pieces in recent days. Russia has warned Washington of “unforeseeable consequences” if it continues to ship heavy weapons to Ukraine.

The attacks with precision munitions came as Russia continued to move equipment and forces into position for a new offensive, which military analysts say could be both long and bloody.

The Eastern Front stretches about 300 miles from Kharkiv in the north to Mariupol in the south and many people living in the area have fled as weeks of shelling destroyed critical infrastructure, razed homes and left dozens dead.

The bombardment increased as Russia moved troops and equipment into position for a full-scale assault. Unlike precision strikes on military targets in other parts of the country, indiscriminate bombardments in the east are often directed against homes and infrastructure.

On Saturday, a Russian shell hit an oil refinery in the town of Lysychansk, in the Luhansk region, causing a major fire, according to Serhiy Haidai, the regional governor. “The shelling continues in residential areas of Lysychansk, and residents are asked to stay in shelters,” he wrote in a post on social media.

In Kharkiv, where Russia is trying to keep Ukrainian forces linked as its troops attempt to advance into areas further south, two people were killed and 18 others injured when what appeared to be guided missiles slammed into a shopping mall in the heart of the broken city. city.

In Dnipro, the local government said a Russian missile hit an abandoned poultry farm.

Local and national Ukrainian officials also reported Russian rocket attacks on Poltava, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv.

Even as Ukrainians take stock of the devastation caused by the Russian occupation in the north of their country, the situation in the areas under Russian occupation remains serious.

Ukrainians also say that Russian forces are trying to hide evidence of war crimes in places they control, although testimonies and statements to this effect from local officials have been impossible to verify because Russian forces have blocked the access to foreigners.

Local residents relayed reports of Russian soldiers exhuming the bodies of civilians buried in the yards of residential buildings in Mariupol and prohibiting people from burying or removing the bodies of the dead, according to a statement published on the channel. City Council Telegram. Local officials say Russia is burning the bodies as part of an effort to hide the scale of the massacre in the city.

Andrew E. Kramer reported from kyiv, Marc Santora from Krakow, Poland, and Matina Stevis-Gridneff from Brussels. Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukrainian towns and military targets
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