Russia steps up strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure ahead of autumn.
Nearly 16 weeks into its counteroffensive, Ukraine has succeeded in hitting the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, which has been overseeing the blockade of the country’s shipping routes.
Friday’s attack is the latest in the string of Ukrainian missile strikes against Russian military targets in the occupied Crimean Peninsula. Last week, Ukraine destroyed a Russian submarine and a landing ship using the British cruise missile Storm Shadow. “Ukrainian cruise missiles Friday slammed into the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the occupied city of Sevastopol,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Reuters reported the latest Ukrainian missile strike:
At least one Ukrainian missile struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Friday, and a major cyberattack interrupted internet services on the peninsula, Russian-installed officials said.
Russia’s defence ministry said one serviceman was missing after the attack, revising its earlier statement that the man had been killed. Air defences had downed a total of five missiles, the ministry said.
Ukraine’s military confirmed it had attacked the Russian Black Sea fleet’s headquarters, but gave few details.
“On September 22 close to 12:00 [local time] Ukraine’s defence forces successfully struck the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet command in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol,” it said on the Telegram messaging app.
The Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, reported that emergency services had brought a fire in the building under control.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive grinds on in the east
While Ukraine has scored some successes in targeting Russian naval assets, its armed forces have made little headway in retaking ground in the east aimed at cutting off Russia’s land access to Crimea or driving a wedge through Russian defenses to divide them into two.
According to some U.S. defense planners, Kyiv only has a couple of weeks to wrap up the counteroffensive before cold weather sets in. Ukraine had a little over 30 days before weather hindered its counteroffensive, top-ranking U.S. General Mark Milley suggest September 10.
As the counteroffensive enters its 16th week, the BBC sums up Ukraine’s progress:
Ukrainian forces have been widening their breach of Russian defensive lines near the village of Robotyne for several weeks and analysts say they may be preparing for a new push.
The tiny village, some 56km (35 miles) south-east of the city of Zaporizhzhia, has been a focal point since Ukraine’s counter-offensive began at the start of June.
Progress has been slow but analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) say they have confirmed that Ukrainian forces are operating armoured vehicles beyond the Russian anti-tank ditch and dragon’s teeth obstacles in the area for the first time – just to the west of nearby Verbove. (…)
However, the advance so far has been restricted to the area around Robotyne and Ukrainian forces have a long way to go if they are to achieve this aim by reaching the Sea of Azov.
Russia resumes strikes on energy infrastructure ahead of colder weather
Media reports indicate that the Russians are stepping up attacks on Ukraine’s energy facilities as autumn approaches.
On Friday, Russia again hit the city of Kremenchuk where an oil field is located. “One person was killed and 15 injured following a Russian missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, authorities said,” Germany’s DW TV reported late Friday.
“Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that Russia had restarted a systemic campaign of aerial attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure but that air defenses were better prepared for the onslaught than last year,” the broadcaster added. A similar Russian campaign last year left millions without electricity and water supply as temperatures dropped.
Europe wavers as Biden backs $22bn Ukraine aid package
While President Joe Biden is pushing Congress for an additional $22 billion aid package for Ukraine, European countries Europe appear to be wavering in its support for the war-ravaged country, the state-owned France24 TV suggested Thursday.
The U.S. congress has so far appropriated $113 billion for the war-ravaged nation. The U.S. military aid alone amounts to nearly $44 billion. To put this in perspective, Germany, UK, and France — countries directly impacted by the conflict on the edge of Europe — have so far provided some $28 billion in combined defense aid to Ukraine. Germany has provided over $20 billion for Ukraine’s defense. France has ‘pledged‘ $1.7 billion, much of which has not yet been delivered.
“The Polish prime minister announced a halt to weapons exports amid a pre-election row over cheap Ukrainian grain exports. Is this simply political grandstanding, or proof that NATO and Europe’s unwavering support is no longer so unwavering?” the French state TV asked. “After a spring counteroffensive that’s turned to summer and now fall, time certainly seems to be on Vladimir Putin’s side as Ukraine’s adversary digs in for the long haul,” the broadcaster added.
Slovakia, Ukraine’s staunch alley in eastern Europe, also appears to be moving away from Kyiv. Ahead of next week’s election, the populist front runner is promising to end the country’s military support for Ukraine. “We will not send a single round to Ukraine,” former prime minister of Slovakia and frontrunner, Robert Fico, said.
“A populist former prime minister whose party is favored to win Slovakia’s early parliamentary election plans to reverse the country’s military and political support for neighboring Ukraine, in a direct challenge to the European Union and NATO, if he returns to power,” the Associated Press noted this week.DONATE
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