Russia said on Saturday that its military would advance military operations in “all operational areas” in Ukraine as rockets and missiles from Moscow blew up cities in attacks that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days. went.
Regional governor Oleh Sinehubov said rockets struck the northeastern city of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region overnight, killing three people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding three others.
“Three people lost their lives, why? For what? Because Putin had gone mad?” Raisa Shapowal, 83, said a distraught resident is sitting in the ruins of her house.
To the south, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets hurled the city of Nikopol over the Dnipro River, killing two people found in the rubble, the region’s governor, Valentin Reznichenko, said.
Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in such attacks in urban areas in the past three days. Russia says it is targeting military bases.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered military units to intensify their operations to deter Ukrainian attacks on eastern Ukraine and other areas held by Russia, where he said Kyiv could affect civilian infrastructure or residents.
“Clearly, preparations are now underway for the next phase of the offensive,” said Vadim Skbitsky, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, adding that along the entire front line there was an active use of Russian shelling and attack helicopters.
Shoigu, a close aide of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shown in military uniform at a command post on the Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel, being told of the war and awarded “Golden Star” medals for gallantry to two generals went.
His remarks appear to be a direct response to what appears to be a direct response to a string of recent successful attacks on 30 Russian logistics and ammunition hubs using multiple launch rocket systems supplied by the West.
A spokesman for Ukraine’s defense ministry said on Friday that the attacks were affecting Russian supply lines and significantly reduced Russia’s offensive capability.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian military said Russia appears to be regrouping units for an offensive towards Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the Donetsk region.
war of attrition
While the focus of the war has shifted to Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, Russian forces have been attacking cities with missiles and rockets elsewhere in the country, in what has become an increasingly tumultuous conflict.
Moscow, which launched its “special military operation” against Ukraine on February 24, says it uses high-precision weapons to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure and protect its security. It has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.
Kyiv and the West maintain that the conflict is an unprovoked attempt to re-conquer a country that had been liberated from Moscow’s rule with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In a recent attack that has sparked outrage from Ukraine and its Western allies, Kalibr cruise missiles struck an office building in Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people, about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of Kyiv on Thursday. attacked.
Kyiv said at least 23 people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack. Among the dead was Lisa, a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome, who was found in the rubble next to a baby boy. Shortly before the attack, pictures of him playing became increasingly viral.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the attack on Vinnytsia was directed at a building where top officials of Ukraine’s armed forces were meeting foreign arms suppliers.
Late on Friday, Russian missiles struck the city of Dnipro, about 120 km (75 mi) north of Nikopol, killing three people and injuring 15, said Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, which includes both cities. said on Telegram, an industrial plant and a busy road adjacent to it were affected.
A local woman named Clavadia told Reuters: “When the blast wave hit, there were some pieces because all my windows were taped.”
“People whose windows weren’t protected like this had a lot of blood in them, their injuries were terrible. I saw a little kid covered in blood. It was terrifying,” she said.
Russia says it has destroyed a factory in Dnipro that makes missile parts.
Clash G20 . divides
The war dominated the G20 finance ministers meeting in Indonesia. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said differences over the conflict had prevented finance chiefs and central bankers from issuing a formal release, but agreed they needed to address a worsening food security crisis.
“It’s a challenging time because Russia is part of the G20 and we don’t agree with the rest of us on how to portray the war,” Yellen said.
Western countries have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia and accused it of war crimes in Ukraine, which Moscow denies. Other G20 nations, including China, India and South Africa, have been more muted in their response.
In a spillover from the conflict, a blockade restricting Ukrainian grain exports has warned it could put millions of people in poor countries at risk of starvation.
Despite the bloodshed, both Russia and Ukraine described progress towards an agreement to lift the blockade in recent talks. Turkey, which is mediating, has said a deal could be signed next week.