Ukraine intensifies strikes against Russian-controlled areas


Ukraine has intensified its artillery and missile bombardment of Russian-controlled areas in the Donbass region, targeting weapons depots and military bases in an attempt to disrupt. Russian attackwhile Moscow unleashed new rounds of long-range missiles – some downed by air defenses – on cities across Ukraine.

The city of Donetsk, the largest in the Russian-controlled Donbass, this weekend was subjected to the worst artillery bombardment since the conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014. The strikes targeted military installations, according to videos of burning ammunition depots posted on local social media-media channels. , but also damaged civilian infrastructure. The mayor of Donetsk, appointed by Russia, Alexei Kulmzin, whose office was also bombed, said five civilians were killed.

According to Igor Girkin, the former Russian intelligence officer who sparked violence in the Donbass eight years ago by capturing the city of Sloviansk, the Ukrainian bombing of Donetsk also destroyed the headquarters of the 1st Army Corps, the official name of the Autonomous Military Force. Donetsk People’s Republic proclaimed. Ukrainian forces killed the corps’ commander, Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov, earlier this month.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine started by the President

Russian President Vladimir Putin

On February 24, with the ostensible goal of protecting Donbass, a third of it was It has been controlled by Russian agents since 2014. But Russian forces were unable to dislodge Ukrainian forces from the immediate outskirts of Donetsk in nearly four months of fighting.

Doubt this failure At the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum On Friday, Putin said a direct attack on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk would cause a high number of casualties and called for patience as Russian forces carry out a complex campaign to encircle Ukrainian forces in the region.

A building in a local market charred by bombing in Donetsk, a Russian-controlled city in eastern Ukraine.


Alexander Ermoshenko/Reuters

The body of a man remained covered on Saturday after a rocket attack in Lysichansk.


Aris Messines/AFP/Getty Images

For the past month and a half, fighting in the Donbass has centered around the city of Severodonetsk, the administrative center of the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Luhansk region, which together with the Donetsk region makes up.

While Russian forces have made slow gains in the city, at enormous cost to both sides, they have so far failed in their efforts to take it completely or cut off the main access road to the remaining Ukrainian-controlled parts of Luhansk, such as the town of Lysychansk overlooking Severodonetsk. On Sunday, the Ukrainian military announced that it had repelled a Russian investigation near the town of Toshkivka, forcing the Russian forces to retreat.

Ukrainian officials said Sunday that well-known Ukrainian commander Oleh Kotsin, commander of the Carpathian Volunteer Battalion Sych, was killed near the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region.

The Russian offensive in Severodonetsk was likely halted further by a successful Ukrainian missile strike on an ammunition storage facility used by Russia and its proxy forces in the town of Krasnyi Luch, deep in the Russian-controlled Luhansk region. While the strike, using a Tochka-U ballistic missile, occurred on Thursday, the extent of the damage was only made clear over the weekend, with footage showing a devastated wasteland littered with scorching artillery shells. According to pro-Russian military correspondents, the Krasny Luch facility was the main depot of Russian ammunition for the Severodonetsk offensive.

Russia’s main response to the Ukrainian attacks in Donbas has been to intensify strikes against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure facilities. On Saturday evening, Russian missiles hit oil refineries in the towns of Shiblin near Kharkiv and Novomoskovsk near Dnipro, causing giant fires. A rescue worker died in Novomoskovsk when a burning fuel tank exploded Sunday morning, according to the region’s government.

Ukrainian soldiers transport a howitzer to a position in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.


Ephrem Lukatsky/The Associated Press

Children playing in the suburb of Borodinka in the Kyiv region, which was attacked early in the war.


Serhii Korovini for The Wall Street Journal

Russia also continued Hit the northeastern city of Kharkiv With Iskander missiles and long-range artillery. As Ukrainian forces pushed Russian forces from the immediate outskirts of Kharkiv last month, this counter-offensive came to a halt as Russia sent reinforcements into the area in an attempt to prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the nearby Russian border. Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terikov said on Sunday that he had canceled a planned visit to Madrid to remain in a position to “coordinate more effectively with the army for the defense of Kharkiv”.

Not all Russian long-range missile strikes have succeeded, especially since in recent weeks Ukraine has begun using its jet fighters to intercept incoming missiles. This is what happened Sunday morning over the towns of Irbin and Bucha near Kyiv, where a cruise missile was shot down, according to local officials. In the southern Odessa region, two SS-N-26 Onyx supersonic missiles launched from Crimea were successfully intercepted, according to the regional administration there.

Ukraine again and again Western partners asked More and better weapons, especially air defense systems that can protect the cities of the country from Russian missiles. While Slovakia has provided Ukraine with the Soviet-designed S-300 system, no large-scale Western air defense platforms have yet been made available. Germany promised last month to introduce the modernized Iris-T air defense system, which can protect an entire city such as Kyiv or Odessa, but it will take months before it is actually shipped.

A fuel facility in Novomoskovsk, central Ukraine, burned down on Sunday after a Russian attack.


Obtained by Reuters / via Reuters

On Saturday, mourners held a memorial service in Kyiv in memory of a young activist killed during the fighting in the Kharkiv region.


Carol Josie / Zuma Press

write to Yaroslav Trofimov in [email protected]

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