Ukraine War Updates: Russian Bombers Hit Kyiv, Putin Threatens to Escalate if Pledged Advanced U.S. Rocket Systems Reach Ukraine
“Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers launched missiles at Kyiv from the Caspian Sea early on Sunday.”
Russian bombers hit the city of Kyiv as the war in Ukraine passed 100 days. “Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers launched missiles at Kyiv from the Caspian Sea early on Sunday and two of the Ukrainian capital’s eastern districts were rocked by explosions,” the TV channel France24 reported, citing official Ukrainian sources.
The Russian airstrike, which struck the city’s railways and other infrastructure, was aiming for the latest shipment of tanks and heavy military equipment coming from the neighboring European countries, the Russian defense ministry claimed Sunday afternoon.
The supposed targeting of Western military shipments comes after last week’s media reports that claimed Poland had delivered more that 200 soviet-era T-72 tanks to the Ukrainian military as part of a defense agreement reached between Germany and other European Union countries.
The Associated Press reported the extent of the Russian strike on the Ukrainian capital:
Russia took aim at Western military supplies for Ukraine with airstrikes in Kyiv on Sunday that it said destroyed tanks donated from abroad, as President Vladimir Putin warned that any Western deliveries of long-range rocket systems to Ukraine would prompt Moscow to hit “objects that we haven’t yet struck.” (…)
Military analysts say Russia is hoping to overrun the embattled eastern Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have fought the Ukrainian government for years, before any weapons that might turn the tide arrive. The Pentagon said earlier this week it will take at least three weeks to get the precision U.S. weapons and trained troops onto the battlefield.
Russian forces pounded railway facilities and other infrastructure early Sunday in Kyiv, which had previously seen weeks of eerie calm. Ukraine’s nuclear plant operator, Energoatom, said one cruise missile buzzed the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) to the south, on its way to the capital — citing the dangers of such a near miss.
Russian Offensive Rages in the East
Reuters suggested that the latest airstrike on Kyiv is Russia’s attempt to ease pressure on its troops fighting in the east. “Russia struck Ukraine’s capital Kyiv with missiles early on Sunday for the first time in more than a month, while Ukrainian officials said a counter-attack on the main battlefield in the east had retaken half of the city of Sievierodonetsk,” the news agency reported.
The main Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine is centered on the city of Severodonetsk. The city has been surrounded by the Russian troops from at least two sides. “Some of the fiercest fighting is currently in the city of Severodonetsk – one of the few parts of Luhansk region not fully under Russian control. Luhansk is one of two regions which makes up the Donbas,” the BBC reported Sunday.
Russian pincer movements to encircle Severodonetsk and cut off thousands of Ukrainian defenders have so far failed.
In recent days, Russia has been gaining ground in the area, but Ukrainians on Sunday claimed that they had taken back parts of the city. “Ukrainian troops have recaptured a portion of the city of Severodonetsk – a main focus of the Russian offensive and the site of heavy fighting,” the UK’s Sky News reported quoting Ukrainian sources.
Putin Threatens to Escalate if U.S. Rocket Launcher System Reaches Ukraine
Days after President Joe Biden agreed to send advance rocket-launcher system and munitions to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to escalate the military offensive if the pledged weapons reach the country.
The Russian leader vowed to “strike objects that we haven’t struck before” in response to the possible deliver of U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine, the European media reported Sunday.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Putin’s latest threat:
Russia will respond to the West delivering long-range missiles to Ukraine, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. His remarks come after the US pledged to supply Kyiv with M142 systems armed with precisions-guided missiles. The range of the missiles, according to media reports, would be between 70 to 80 kilometers (43.5 to 50 miles).
In comments broadcast on Sunday, Putin said the systems were “nothing new” and their range depended on the missiles that the US decided to provide.
“But, if they will be delivered, we will draw appropriate conclusions and use our own weapons, of which we have enough, to strike objects that we haven’t struck before,” Putin told Russia’s state broadcaster.
The White House clarified that Ukraine will not be provided with long-rage munition for HIMARS launchers which could hit deep into the Russian territory. The U.S. multiple launch rocket system has a maximum range of up to 180 miles.
HIMARS equipped with medium-range precision rockets could prove decisive for the Ukrainian forces as they try to push back the Russian advance in the eastern Donbas region, which Moscow has now vowed to capture in its entirely.
Last Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that the “liberation” of Donbas was an “unconditional priority” for the Russian invading force. The loss of Donbas, with an area of about 6,500 square miles, could deprive Ukraine of its industrial heartland.DONATE
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