(Kyiv) Ukraine announced on Tuesday that it struck Russian forces overnight in the occupied Kherson region in the south of the country, with Russian occupation authorities accusing it of hitting houses.
For their part, the finance ministers of the European Union have approved a new financial assistance of one billion euros for Ukraine, bringing to 2.2 billion euros the total macro-financial assistance of the Twenty- Seven to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
The Kremlin announced on Tuesday a bilateral meeting between Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of a summit on Syria on July 19 in Tehran with Iranian leader Ebrahim Raisi.
Turkey stands as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow. At the same time, according to Washington, Iran is preparing to deliver “hundreds of drones” to Russia.
On Wednesday, Turkey is due to host a meeting in Istanbul between Russian, Ukrainian and UN representatives to discuss the resumption of Black Sea deliveries of grain blocked in Ukrainian ports.
On the ground, Ukrainian military intelligence announced on Tuesday that it had released during a “special operation” five Ukrainians, including a soldier and a former policeman, “kept in captivity by the Russian occupiers” in the Kherson region.
In the same region, Ukraine announced that it had struck Russian forces in Nova Kakhovka overnight from Monday to Tuesday, killing 52 Russian soldiers and destroying an ammunition depot. Russian occupation authorities accused Kyiv of hitting houses and killing at least seven people.
The head of the military-civilian administration installed in this locality by the Russian forces, Vladimir Leontiev, denounced an “act of terrorism”. Ekaterina Goubareva, a deputy leader of the Kherson region occupation administration, accused Ukrainian forces of using US Himars multiple rocket launchers.
Bordering the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014, the Kherson region is largely occupied by Russian forces. The Ukrainian army has been leading a counter-offensive there for several weeks while the bulk of Russian troops are deployed in the mining region of Donbass, in the east.
Strikes on Mykolaiv
Also in the south, Russian forces launched “massive” missile strikes on Mykolaiv on Tuesday, hitting two medical facilities and apartment buildings, according to Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych.
The attacks, carried out around 4 a.m. (9 p.m. EDT, Monday) with at least 19 Smerch and Tornado missiles, left 12 injured, according to Mykolaiv region governor Vitaly Kim.
“Russian terror has long since crossed the line beyond which it has become apparent to many in the civilized world that punishing Russia, a terrorist state, for all it has done in Ukraine is a matter of global security. “, commented Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Telegram.
The Russian army claimed to have destroyed a Harpoon system with an Iskander missile in Berezan, in the Odessa region, still in the south, as well as military units and ammunition depots in the Matviivka district of the Mykolaiv region.
She also claimed that the number of “foreign mercenaries” fighting for Ukraine was in “steady decline”, citing the arrival in Zamosc (Poland) on July 6 of five of them on their way to Ukraine. , two Britons and three Americans, and giving their names.
Russia claimed in mid-June to have already killed more than 2,000 foreign fighters.
In eastern Ukraine, Kyiv expects a new Russian offensive in the Donetsk region, forming the Donbass basin with that of Luhansk, which Russian forces claim to have seized in early July. Donbass has been partially controlled since 2014 by Moscow-backed separatists.
“The front is getting closer”
The death toll from the Russian shelling of an apartment building in Chassiv Iar, Donetsk region, on Sunday has risen to at least 35, according to the local branch of Ukraine’s rescue services.
In Bakhmout, in the Donetsk region, artillery fire was heard Tuesday in an almost deserted city center. Behind the town hall, about thirty people were waiting to be evacuated in two minibuses leaving for Dnipro, chartered by the NGO Rescue Now.
“I would like to evacuate too, but my parents don’t want to,” confides to AFP Sofyia, a little 8-year-old blonde, watching them embark with envy. “Everyone is gone, I only have one friend left here”.
“The front is getting closer,” observes Dmytro Podkuyidko, a town hall official. According to him, some 27,000 people have fled the city since the start of the war, out of 73,000 inhabitants according to a 2020 figure.
From 10 to 30 people leave according to him every day in the evacuations organized by the town hall. His family is already in Dnipro: “If it gets worse, I will end up leaving too,” he says.
In Moscow, the embassy of the separatist region of Donetsk is to be inaugurated on Tuesday, in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
On Monday, Russia announced to facilitate access to Russian nationality for all Ukrainians, extending a measure which until now applied to the Ukrainian territories it occupies.
On the economic front, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reyders announced that around €13.8 billion in assets of oligarchs and other entities had been frozen in the European Union following the sanctions. against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.