For the first time in weeks, Russia launched missiles Thursday at Ukraine’s capital area, Kyiv, and the northern Chernihiv region, in what Ukraine alleged was retaliation for its continued resistance to Moscow’s invasion.
Russia attacked the Kyiv region with six missiles launched from the Black Sea, wounding 15 people, five of them civilians, a Ukrainian regional governor said. Ukraine said it had shot down one of the missiles but that Moscow’s forces had hit a military compound in the village of Liutizh outside the capital, destroying one building and damaging two others.
Kyiv regional Governor Oleksiy Kuleba linked the attacks to the Day of Statehood observance that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instituted last year and that Ukraine marked Thursday for the first time.
“Russia, with the help of missiles, is mounting revenge for the widespread popular resistance, which the Ukrainians were able to organize precisely because of their statehood,” Kuleba told Ukrainian television. “Ukraine has already broken Russia’s plans and will continue to defend itself.”
Chernihiv regional Governor Vyacheslav Chaus reported that Russia also had fired missiles from neighboring Belarus at the village of Honcharivska. The Chernihiv region had not been targeted in weeks.
Russia withdrew from the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas months ago after failing to capture either region or to topple Zelenskyy’s government.
Meanwhile, Ukraine said it had launched an offensive to recapture the Kherson region that Russia took control of earlier in the war, on Wednesday knocking out of commission a key bridge over the Dnieper River.
Ukrainian media quoted Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych as saying Kyiv’s forces were planning to isolate Russian troops and leave them with three options — “retreat, if possible, surrender or be destroyed.”
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, warned that the Russians were augmenting their forces in the Kherson region, saying, “A very large-scale movement of their troops has begun.”
The British military assessed that Ukraine had used its new, Western-supplied long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnieper that Russia has relied on to supply its forces.
The daily assessment from the British Defense Ministry said the city of Kherson “is now virtually cut off from other occupied territories.”
Russian officials said their forces would use other ways to cross areas with damaged bridges, including pontoon bridges and ferries.
Zelenskyy adviser Arestovych acknowledged that Russian forces had taken over Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant. He characterized the development, however, as only a “tiny tactical advantage” for the Russians.