Russia early this morning attacked the capital Kiev with missiles, claiming to destroy military vehicles provided by Western aid to Ukraine.
Black smoke can be seen from miles away Russian attack on two suburban districts of the capital Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev authorities said the attack targeted a railway track repair facility, while Russia claimed to have destroyed a number of tanks sent by Eastern European countries to Ukraine.
At least one person has been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. The airstrikes come as normal life has largely returned to the Ukrainian capital since Russia withdrew its troops in March and shifted the focus of the military campaign to the east.
“The Kremlin has resorted to silent attacks. The missile strikes on Kiev today have only one goal: to destroy as much as possible,” said adviser to the President of Ukraine Mikhailo Podolyak. write on Twitter.
Ukraine says Russia carried out the attack with a long-range missile launched from a heavy bomber. Ukraine’s nuclear energy regulator says a Russian cruise missile flew “extremely low” over the country’s second-largest nuclear power plant.
In recent weeks, Russia has focused its offensive power mainly on the fronts in eastern and southern Ukraine, although Moscow has occasionally bombarded other areas in the campaign to weaken its military infrastructure. Ukraine and intercepted Western arms shipments to Kiev.
In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its forces on Sievierodonetsk, a small industrial city in eastern Ukraine. After having to withdraw from the city under pressure from Russian military fire, Ukrainian forces today launch a counterattack which they say surprised the Russians.
After recapturing part of the city, Ukrainian forces now control half of Sievierodonetsk and are continuing to push back the Russian army, said the governor of the Lugansk region of Ukraine, Serhiy Gaidai.
Russia has not commented on this information. Both sides say they inflicted heavy casualties on the other in Sievierodonetsk.
In another sign that Ukraine has stopped the Russian military advance, Gaidai said today that evacuations have resumed in some Ukrainian-controlled areas in Lugansk province.
The British Ministry of Defense on the same day assessed that Ukraine’s counter-attacks in Sievierodonetsk in the past 24 hours could overturn the achievements that the Russian military has achieved in the past time.
In the neighboring Donetsk province, Russian forces are advance in the area north of the River Siverskiy Donets. Ukraine predicts that the Russian military this could be the first step for Russia to attack Sloviansk, one of the main cities of the province.
Ukrainian officials say at least eight people were killed and 11 wounded in Russian shelling of Donetsk overnight.
The United States announced last week that it would send new, more advanced medium-range missile systems to Ukraine. Kiev hopes they will help them strike a balance with Russia in the conflict. Washington has ruled out sending longer-range weapons and said Kiev has promised not to strike inside Russia.
In an interview with Russian television on June 5, President Vladimir Putin voiced reassurance about the impact of the new missiles on the conflict, even though he warned Washington not to send longer-range missiles.
Mr. Putin said the missiles Washington has promised so far are on par with the Soviet-era missiles that Ukraine already has. “This move is nothing new. In essence, it does not change anything,” the Kremlin boss said.
President Putin said that if Washington provided Kiev with longer-range missiles, “we will hit targets that we have never targeted before”.
He also dismissed the impact of Western drones, saying Russia had “crushed them like a grain”.
According to an update from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the war in Ukraine has left 4,183 civilians dead and more than 5,000 injured. Actual numbers may be much higher than statistics because many areas are difficult to access and field reports are difficult to verify.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has so far recorded more than 6.9 million Ukrainians leaving the country after February 24, when Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.
Vu Hoang (Follow Reuters, AFP)
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