Russia hits Kyiv as troops consolidate gains in the east
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia attacked Ukraine’s capital in the early hours of Sunday morning, hitting at least two residential buildings, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, as Russian troops elsewhere consolidated their gains. is.
Associated Press reporters in Kyiv saw emergency services battling the flames and rescuing civilians. Klitschko said two people were hospitalized with injuries.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app that « according to preliminary data, 14 missiles were launched against the Kyiv and Kyiv region. »
Prior to Sunday’s early morning attack, Kyiv had not faced such Russian airstrikes since June 5.
Meanwhile, Russian forces sought to engulf the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Lugansk region, building on their momentum after taking full control on Saturday of the charred ruins of Sievierodonetsk and the chemical plant where hundreds of soldiers and Ukrainian civilians had been locked up. .
On Saturday, Russia also launched dozens of missiles at several areas across the country away from the heart of eastern battles. Some of the missiles were fired by Russian Tu-22 long-range bombers deployed from Belarus for the first time, Ukraine’s air command said.
The bombardment preceded a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during which Putin announced that Russia planned to supply Belarus with the Iskander-M missile system.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that separatist forces backed by Russia and Moscow now control Sievierodonetsk and the villages surrounding it. He said the attempt by Ukrainian forces to turn the Azot plant into a « stubborn center of resistance » had been thwarted.
Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk province, said Friday that Ukrainian troops were withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk after weeks of shelling and house-to-house fighting. He confirmed on Saturday that the town had fallen to Russian and separatist fighters, who he said were now trying to blockade the nearby town of Lysychansk from the south. The town lies across the river just west of Sievierodonetsk.
Russian news agency Interfax quoted a spokesman for the separatist forces, Andrei Marochko, as saying that Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered Lysychansk and fighting was taking place in the heart of the city. There was no immediate comment on the Ukrainian side’s claim.
Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk were the focal point of a Russian offensive aimed at capturing all of Donbass and destroying the Ukrainian army defending it – the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the country’s armed forces.
Capturing Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major settlement in the province, an important step towards Russia’s goal of capturing all of Donbass. The Russians and the separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province of Donbass.
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Oleksandy Stashevskyi, The Associated Press