(Drouzhkivka) The Russian army continued its bombardments in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and is preparing, after four and a half months of war, “new actions”, according to Ukrainian officials.
The United States, which continues to increase its military aid to Kyiv, has asked China to condemn “Russian aggression” in Ukraine and the United Kingdom welcomes a first group of Ukrainian soldiers who have come to train.
“The eyes of all aggressive movements and political regimes in the world are now on what Russia is doing to us,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Instagram on Saturday.
“Will the world be able to bring the real war criminals to justice? “, he wonders, warning of the risk of “hundreds of other attacks” if he does not succeed.
In the East, as in the South of the country, the alarm sirens sounded all night long. Residents of the small town of Druzhkivka south of Kramatorsk (East) were awakened on Saturday by a suspected missile attack that left a huge crater in front of a damaged supermarket.
Russian forces, which announced in early July that they had taken control of the Luhansk region, are now targeting the Donetsk region to occupy the entire Donbass mining basin (East), partially controlled since 2014 by separatists supported by Moscow after the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula.
The Ukrainian general staff reported on Saturday Russian bombardments in the East and on Kharkiv (North-East), but no ground offensive.
Russian bombardments left at least one dead and two wounded in Kryvy Rig, the birthplace of Mr. Zelensky who visited the Ukrainian positions in the Dnipropetrovsk region (center-east) on Friday.
For its part, the Russian army claims to have inflicted significant damage on the Ukrainian army and equipment in the regions of Mykolaiv (South) and Dnipropetrovsk.
In its statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense also claims strikes on the regions of Donetsk and Kharkiv, where six civilians were injured according to the local Ukrainian prosecutor’s office.
The separatist “authorities” accuse Kyiv of having cut off the gas in Zaporijjia (south-east).
The Russian army is “in the process of regrouping, or rather reconstituting its groups and preparing new actions in Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmout”, estimated Friday on Telegram the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
According to him, “the entire front line is under constant bombardment”. On Saturday morning, he reported five civilians killed and seven wounded the day before.
Luhansk Governor Sergiy Gaidai said on Saturday that Russian forces were targeting the Donetsk region from their bases in the Luhansk region where there is “no full occupation” and which “continues to fight”.
The governor of Kharkiv and that of Donetsk accused the Russian forces of causing fires, particularly in fields, with their fire. “They are trying to destroy the crops by all means,” said the latter on Friday.
In the south, police in the Kherson region announced the initiation of criminal proceedings after the destruction of crops by Russian forces.
In the Mykolaiv region, from where attempts to counterattack on Kherson, a city occupied since the first days of the war, the mayor reported explosions heard during the night asked the population to stay in the shelters .
Weapons and diplomacy
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, quoted by Ukrainian media, called on the population of the areas occupied by the Russian army to evacuate by all possible means, warning: “There will be massive fighting”.
In what looks like a normal rotation of staff, Mr Zelensky ended the mission of five Ukrainian ambassadors abroad, including Andriï Melnik, stationed in Berlin, who had openly considered German support timid to his country.
On Friday evening, Washington announced a new round of military aid to Ukraine, amounting to $400 million. It includes four Himars multiple rocket launcher systems and a thousand 155mm shells, which should improve Ukraine’s ability to target arms depots and the Russian army’s supply chain.
Washington has already provided $6.9 billion in military assistance to Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
The United States also exerted diplomatic pressure during a G20 ministerial meeting on Friday in Indonesia.
US Secretary of State Antony Blink asked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during an interview on Saturday to distance himself from Moscow and condemn Russian “aggression” against Ukraine.
The day before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had slammed the door of the G20 meeting after suffering a torrent of criticism over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For its part, the United Kingdom announced on Saturday the arrival of a first group of Ukrainian soldiers as part of an “ambitious new training program” mobilizing 1,050 British soldiers, unveiled on June 17 in Kyiv by the first now resigning minister Boris Johnson.