Russian missiles hit Ukrainian capital
Russia hit Ukraine’s capital Kyiv with missiles for the first time in more than a month, while Ukrainian officials said a counterattack on the main battlefield in the east resumed the half of the city of Sievierodonetsk.
Black smoke could be seen several kilometers away after two outlying Kyiv neighborhoods were attacked early on Sunday. Moscow said it hit a repair shop housing tanks sent from Eastern Europe.
Ukraine said Russia carried out the attack 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.
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At least one person has been hospitalized but no immediate deaths were reported following the strike, a sudden reminder of war in a capital where normal life has largely returned since Russian forces were forced from its outskirts in March.
“The Kremlin is resorting to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes on Kyiv have only one goal: to kill as many as possible,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak wrote in a tweet.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator said a Russian cruise missile flew past the country’s second-largest nuclear power plant.
The attack was the first major strike on Kyiv since late April, when a missile killed a journalist.
In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its destructive power mainly on the eastern and southern frontlines, though Moscow occasionally strikes elsewhere in what it calls a campaign to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure. and to block Western arms shipments.
Russia has concentrated its forces in recent weeks on the small factory town of Sievierodonetsk in the east of the country, launching one of the biggest ground battles of the war in a bid to capture one of the two eastern provinces that she claims on behalf of separatist proxies.
After steadily retreating into the city in recent days, Ukraine launched a counterattack there which it said took the Russians by surprise.
After recapturing part of the city, Ukrainian forces now controlled half of it and continued to push back the Russians, said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region which includes Sievierodonetsk.
“It was a difficult situation, the Russians controlled 70% of the city, but in the last two days they were pushed back,” Gaidai told Ukrainian television. “The city is now, more or less, split in two.”
The claims could not be independently verified. Both sides say they have inflicted huge casualties on Sievierodonetsk, a battle that could determine which side carries the momentum in a protracted war of attrition in the months to come.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that Ukrainian counterattacks in the past 24 hours were likely to blunt any operational momentum Russian forces had previously gained.
Russia was deploying ill-equipped separatist fighters to the city to limit the risk to its regular forces, he said.
Moscow said its own forces were advancing in the city. The Ukrainian military said Russian forces continued to mount assault operations using artillery and controlled the eastern part of Sievierodonetsk.
In neighboring Donetsk province, which Moscow also claims on behalf of its separatist proxies, Russian forces have advanced into territory north of the Siverskiy Donets River in recent days, ahead of what Ukraine expects to be a push on the large city of Sloviansk.
Ukrainian officials said at least eight people were killed and 11 injured in Russian shelling in the province overnight.
In an interview with Russian state television, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would hit new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine.