Russia launched a barrage of missile strikes on Ukraine early on Saturday, stepping up hostilities a day after Ukrainian troops retreated from the embattled metropolis of Severodonetsk.
As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine entered its fifth month, regional governors reported strikes on navy bases in western Ukraine’s Lviv area, in Zhytomyr west of Kyiv, and Chernihiv north-west of the capital.
Officers stated some missiles have been intercepted by surface-to-air defence methods. Ukrainian and Russian navy claims can’t be independently verified.
Early studies didn’t point out that there have been a excessive variety of casualties, however Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser in Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration, stated civilian targets had been hit.
Podolyak stated in a tweet: “48 Russian cruise missiles. At night time. All through the entire Ukraine.”
“Russia continues to be attempting to intimidate Ukraine, trigger panic and make individuals be afraid of Z-monsters,” he added, referring to the usage of the letter Z as a marking for a few of Russia’s invading forces.
The strikes got here simply earlier than Ukrainian officers stated that the majority troops had withdrawn from Severodonetsk, provincial capital of the japanese Luhansk area. Close by Lysychansk is the one remaining main metropolis within the Luhansk area that has not fallen to Russian occupation. Ukraine nonetheless controls a number of main western cities within the close by Donetsk province, to the west of Lysychansk.
After failing to seize Kyiv and different main northern cities early in its invasion, Moscow has extra lately targeted its efforts on capturing floor in far japanese and southern coastal areas. It now controls 20 per cent of Ukrainian territory.
All through the battle Russia has performed near-daily missile strikes. Greater than 1,400 have been launched in accordance with Ukrainian officers, concentrating on infrastructure and navy installations in addition to attempting to stall the transport of heavy weapons from Kyiv’s western backers.
Russia has beforehand fired Iskander surface-to-surface missiles from Kremlin-allied Belarus, and Ukraine’s navy intelligence stated Saturday’s strikes have been all fired from Belarus’s territory. That included 12 cruise missiles which have been launched by Russian Tu-22M3 bombers from Minsk’s airspace, the primary time this has occurred in accordance with Kyiv.
“Immediately’s missile assaults, all of them, have been performed in a single day from the territory of Belarus . . . From the air and from the land,” Brigadier Basic Kyrylo Budanov, chief of Ukraine’s defence intelligence, stated.
Early within the invasion Belarus allowed Russian forces to advance in direction of Kyiv from its territory however has not despatched its personal forces into Ukraine.
Budanov stated Moscow is “once more frightening us to assault Belarus” so as “to create a pretext” for Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to affix Russia’s invasion.
Russia was additionally plotting to conduct terrorist assaults in Belarus, Budanov stated, blowing up homes, faculties and hospitals as a false flag operation to be blamed on Kyiv.
Lukashenko “is attempting to keep away from this,” Budanov stated, including: “He understands how this may finish for him.”