Blasts from Russian missile strikes rock Kyiv
KYIV: 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.
Dark smoke could be seen from many miles away after the attack on two outlying districts of Kyiv. Ukraine said the strike hit a rail car repair works. Moscow said it had destroyed tanks sent by Eastern European countries to Ukraine.
At least one person was hospitalised though there were no immediate reports of deaths. The strike was a sudden reminder of war in a capital where normal life has largely returned since Russian forces were driven from its outskirts in March. “The Kremlin resorts to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes at Kyiv have only one goal — kill as many as possible,” tweeted Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak.
Putin warns of new targets if Ukraine supplied with long-range missiles
Ukraine said Russia had carried out the strike using long-range air-launched missiles fired from heavy bombers as far away as the Caspian Sea — a weapon far more valuable than the tanks Russia claimed to have hit.
Ukraine’s nuclear power operator said a Russian cruise missile had flown “critically low” over the country’s second largest nuclear power plant.
Sunday’s attack was the first big strike on Kyiv since late April, when a missile killed a journalist. Recent weeks have seen Russia focus its destructive might mainly on front lines in the east and south, although Moscow occasionally strikes elsewhere in what it calls a campaign to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure and block Western arms shipments.
A Russian state media journalist on Sunday said that Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov had been killed in eastern Ukraine.
In a Sunday address to 35,000 people in Rome, Pope Francis renewed calls for “real negotiations” to end what he called the “increasingly dangerous escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine. “As the fury of destruction and death rages and clashes flare, fuelling an escalation that is increasingly dangerous for all, I renew my appeal to the leaders of nations: Please do not lead humanity to destruction,” the pontiff said.
In an interview with Russian state television, President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow would hit new targets if the West supplies longer-range missiles to Ukraine. But he also dismissed the impact of advanced rocket systems promised by Washington to Ukraine last week, saying these would not affect the course of fighting.
Russia has concentrated its forces in recent weeks on the small eastern industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, pursuing one of the biggest ground battles of the war in a bid to capture one of two eastern provinces it claims on behalf of separatist proxies.
After retreating steadily in the city in recent days, Ukraine mounted a counter-attack there, which it says took the Russians by surprise. After recapturing a swathe of the city, Ukrainian forces were now in control of half of it and continuing to push the Russians back, said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region that includes Sievierodonetsk.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022