Ukraine: New Deadly Round Of Russian Airstrikes Kills 2


For a second time in a week, Russia launched a deadly wave of airstrikes across Ukraine, killing two people, even though Ukraine said it shot down 15 of the 18 missiles that targeted it. 

Two Ukrainians were killed and 40 wounded early Monday in the eastern city of Pavlohrad, but none of the strikes hit the capital, Kyiv, officials said.

The latest Russian attack followed last Friday’s launch of more than 20 cruise missiles and two explosive drones aimed at Ukraine. In that attack, Russian missiles hit an apartment building in Uman, a city about 215 kilometers south of Kyiv, killing 21 people, including three children.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his Monday night video address, said, “Pavlohrad, Dnipropetrovsk region. Terrorists’ missiles claimed the lives of two people, young guys. For every such attack, the Russian invaders will receive our response.” 

A huge crater had been blasted into the backyard of a house that was strewn with debris on Pavlohrad’s outskirts. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces struck with high-precision, long-range, air- and sea-based missiles against “Ukraine’s military-industrial facilities.” 

A Russian-installed official in the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, Vladimir Rogov, said the attack hit ammunition and fuel depots in Pavlohrad, claiming it would stall Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive.

The attacks also damaged Ukraine’s power network infrastructure, which will take several days to repair, according to Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Haluschenko. He said that nearly 20,000 people in the city of Kherson and wider region had been left without power, along with others in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

An explosion in a Russian region bordering Ukraine caused a freight train to derail Monday, the local governor said in a social media post, but there were no casualties. 

Pictures shared on social media showed several tank carriages toppled onto their sides and dark gray smoke billowing into the air at the site of the derailment in the Bryansk region. 

“An unidentified explosive device went off at the 136-kilometer mark on the Bryansk-Unecha railway line, derailing a freight train,” Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz said in a post on the messaging app Telegram. 

Russian authorities say the region, which borders Ukraine and Belarus, has seen multiple attacks by pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups in the 14 months since Russia invaded. On Saturday, the governor said four civilians died after Kyiv shelled a village just across the border. 

The site of the incident, as indicated by the governor, is around 60 kilometers north of Russia’s border with Ukraine. He did not claim who was responsible for the attack. 

Both sides have denied targeting civilians since the Russian invasion on Ukraine began in February 2022. 

Separately, the governor of Russia’s Leningrad region near St. Petersburg said a power line had been blown up overnight and an explosive device found near a second line. 

Governor Alexander Drozdenko posted photos of destroyed power lines and metal supports on his Telegram page Monday morning. He said Russia’s FSB federal security service was working on the site. He did not say who he believed was responsible for the incident.

Russian casualties

The White House said Monday it estimates that in just six months Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties, including more than 20,000 people killed in the fight to advance in eastern Ukraine.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. estimate is based on newly declassified American intelligence. Kirby said most of these casualties have occurred during fierce battles in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russia is encountering a tough Ukrainian defense.

Kirby said nearly half those killed since December are members of the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary force. Many Wagner forces convicts recently released from Russian prisons in exchange for fighting in Ukraine.

Kirby said the Wagner forces were “thrown into combat and without sufficient combat or combat training, combat leadership, or any sense of organizational command and control.”

In a video posted on Telegram on Monday, Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin complained that his fighters were receiving only a third of 300 tons of artillery shells needed a day for the stalled assault on Bakhmut.

“Three hundred tons a day is 10 cargo containers — not a lot at all,” said Prigozhin, who has often clashed with Russia’s defense establishment over, what he claims is, insufficient support for his fighters.

While Russia is struggling to encircle the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops are still in control of a key supply route into Bakhmut and have launched counterattacks forcing Russian troops to abandon some positions, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukrainian ground forces, said Monday, according to The Kyiv Independent.

However, Syrskyi wrote on Telegram Monday, the situation in Bakhmut remains “quite difficult,” adding, “the enemy is unable to take control of the city.”

Ukraine said Monday its forces repelled more than 36 enemy attacks on the part of the eastern front line that stretches from Bakhmut to Maryinka, just west of Donetsk, Reuters reports.

Bakhmut is an important strategic landmark for Russia which says that its capture would work as the springboard for further Russian offensives in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Russian trenches

Russia is also digging in, expecting an imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive.

“Russia has constructed some of the most extensive systems of military defensive works seen anywhere in the world for many decades,” the British defense ministry said Monday in its daily intelligence update about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The report, posted on Twitter, said there is imagery that shows that Russia “has made a particular effort” to strengthen the northern border of occupied Crimea, “including with a multilayered defensive zone near the village of Medvedevka.”

In addition, according to the ministry, Russia has dug “hundreds of miles of trenches well inside internationally recognized Russian territory, including in the Belgorod and Kursk regions.”

The trenches show that Russia is worried that Ukraine could achieve “a major breakthrough,” the ministry said. Some of the work, however, has “likely been ordered by local commanders and civil leaders in attempts to promote the official narrative that Russia is ‘threatened’ by Ukraine and NATO,” according to the report.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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