Explosions rock Ukrainian capital after weeks of relative calm | Russo-Ukrainian War

The raids on Kyiv are the first since Russia turned its military focus to eastern and southern Ukraine.

Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was rocked by multiple blasts early on Sunday, a day after officials said its troops recaptured part of the eastern battlefield in a counteroffensive against Russia.

“Several explosions in Darnytskyi and Dniprovskyi districts of the capital,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “The services are already working on site.”

At least one person has been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, Klitschko said. Other officials said the Russian bombardment appeared to be aimed at the rail network.

Later Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the raids had destroyed tanks and other armored vehicles on the outskirts of Kyiv that had been supplied to Ukraine by its Western allies, as President Vladimir Putin said issued a new warning to the West against supplying long-range missiles to Ukraine. .

Smoke rises after a missile strike in Kyiv [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

If Kyiv receives long-range missiles, “we will draw appropriate conclusions and use our weapons…to hit targets we haven’t hit yet,” Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

His remarks come days after the United States announced it would supply Ukraine with advanced Himars multiple-launch rocket systems. Himars is a mobile unit that can simultaneously launch multiple precision-guided missiles up to 80 km (50 miles).

The mayor of the historic town of Brovary, about 20 km (12 miles) from central Kyiv, urged people to stay inside their homes as there had been reports of the smell of soot coming from the smoke.

“Severodonetsk split in two”

Air raid sirens regularly disrupt life in the capital, but there have been no significant attacks on the city since Moscow turned its military focus east and south, staging a particularly intense battle for the city. Severodonetsk Industrial.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region which includes Severodonetsk, said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces controlled about half of the city after taking over much of the Russian troops.

“It had been a difficult situation, the Russians controlled 70% of the city, but in the last two days they were pushed back,” Haidai told Ukrainian television. “The city is now, more or less, split in two.”

Smoke rises from the city of Severodonetsk, during shelling in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass [Aris Messinis/AFP]
Smoke rises in the city of Severodonetsk during heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops [File: Aris Messinis/AFP]

Moscow instead claimed that its own forces were making gains in the city. Military experts say the battle for the city could determine which side has the momentum for a protracted war of attrition in the months to come.

On Saturday, Putin said Russian anti-aircraft forces had shot down dozens of Ukrainian weapons and were “cracking them like nuts.”

Kyiv has come under heavy shelling since Russia launched its invasion on February 24. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed astonishment after a Russian missile attack hit near his location during his visit to Ukraine in April.

The Retroville shopping center was razed in March and nearby schools and kindergartens were also damaged.

Russian troops headed for Kyiv at the start of what Moscow calls its “special military operation”. Explosions and street fighting drove Kyiv residents to seek shelter underground, with towns on the city’s outskirts having to bear the brunt as enemy troops brutally tried to force their way into the capital .

Scenes of dead bodies on the streets of the Ukrainian town of Bucha have prompted world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, to call on Russia to stand trial for war crimes.

Thousands of people have been killed and millions have been forced to flee Ukraine, as Russian bombardments have destroyed cities across the country.

Christi C. Elwood