(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.
Bordering the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014, the Kherson region is largely occupied by Russian forces as part of the invasion launched on February 24. The Ukrainian army has been leading a counter-offensive there for several weeks while the bulk of Russian troops are deployed in the Donbass (east).
According to Ukrainian military officials in charge of the south of the country, the strike killed 52 Russian soldiers and destroyed “a warehouse with ammunition” in Nova Kakhovka, about 70 km from the large city of Kherson which has 290,000 inhabitants.
For his part, the head of the military-civilian administration installed in this locality by the Russian forces, Vladimir Leontiev, denounced an “act of terrorism” and “a terrible tragedy”, affirming on Telegram: “there is no no military target here”.
“There are already seven dead and about 60 injured,” he said, assuring that “the number (of victims) will increase, because the extent of the damage is enormous”.
“Dozens of homes were affected,” he added, along with warehouses, stores, a pharmacy, gas stations “and even a church.” According to him, “it is clear that this is a deliberate, violent, cynical attack with high-precision missiles”.
Ekaterina Goubareva, a deputy leader of the Kherson region occupation administration also reported seven dead and accused Ukrainian forces of using US Himars multiple rocket launchers.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify these claims.
In a video broadcast by Russian media, we see a huge ball of fire and sheaves projected towards the sky in the middle of the night, while powerful detonations sound and a thick column of white smoke rises.
On other images taken in the morning and released by the occupation authorities, we see several destroyed buildings.
In the east of the country, where Russian bombardments continue, Ukraine expects a new Russian offensive in the Donetsk region located in the Donbass, a mining basin partially controlled since 2014 by separatists supported by Moscow.
“There are signs that enemy units are preparing to intensify combat operations in the direction of Kramatorsk and Bakhmout,” the Ukrainian general staff warned.
Kramatorsk, the administrative center of Donbass still under Ukrainian control, and its neighbor Sloviansk are considered to be the next targets of the Russian military in their plan to completely conquer Donbass, four and a half months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
The embassy of the separatist region of Donetsk will be inaugurated on Tuesday in Moscow, 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.
34 dead in Chassiv Iar
The death toll from the bombing attributed to Russia on Sunday of an apartment building in Chassiv Iar, in the Donetsk region, continued to rise as rescue operations continue, rising to at least 34 dead according to the authorities. local.
In Kharkiv (northeast), six civilians were killed Monday by a Russian strike, according to Governor Oleg Synegoubov.
Faced, according to Washington, with problems maintaining its armament, Russia should receive, for its part, “hundreds of drones” delivered by Iran.
“Our intelligence indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to deliver up to several hundred drones, including combat aircraft, to Russia at very short notice,” the House of Commons national security adviser said Monday. Blanche, Jake Sullivan.
Drones have played an important role since the beginning of the war for reconnaissance operations, missile firings or bomb drops.
At the same time, Europe has entered a period of uncertainty over the continuation of gas deliveries by Russia, the Russian giant Gazprom having started maintenance work on Monday on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines which supply Germany and other western European countries.
This stop for ten days was in theory to be only a technical formality. But with the war in Ukraine and the showdown between Moscow and the West over energy, no one can bet on the restoration of deliveries, which have already been greatly reduced.
In order not to give Moscow any additional pretext, Germany obtained from Canada the return of turbines of the gas pipeline, under maintenance on a Canadian site of the German group Siemens. This gesture aroused the ire of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, who announced the summons of the Canadian ambassador to Kyiv “due to an absolutely unacceptable exception to the sanctions regime against Russia”.