Wednesday, August 17

From Odesa to kyiv: Russia intensifies its attacks in Ukraine


The last missile has fallen in Odessa. At least 21 people have been killed in an attack near the southern Ukrainian port city, according to the state emergency service. Another 39 are injured, and among the victims are several children. The videos show the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, a few dozen kilometers from Odessa. According to the authorities, the Russian missiles have hit an apartment building and a recreation center.

Witnesses and experts contradict the Russian version of the attack on the Kremenchuk shopping center

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The bombing in Odessa comes after the withdrawal of Vladimir Putin’s forces from Snake Island in the Black Sea and after days in which Russia has intensified such attacks away from the front lines, including the one that killed This Monday at least 19 people and injured several dozen more in a shopping center in the Poltava region, in the center of the country, according to the latest balance of the Ukrainian emergency service. The military analysts thinktank The US Institute for the Study of War framed the shelling of the city of Kremenchuk in a further escalation of Russian missile strikes “against Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian targets.”

Earlier, after weeks of relative safety, at least one person was killed in an attack in kyiv over the weekend. The mayor of the capital said that it was an attempt to “intimidate” before the G7 summit, which gave way to the meeting of NATO leaders in Madrid. While the Russian troops continue to concentrate mainly on their offensive in the eastern part of the country, the scene of an intense battle, the Ukrainian authorities have denounced this week new bombings with civilian victims in places such as the punished Kharkov and Mykolaiv, to the east and to the south.

This Thursday, a Ukrainian general assured that the pace of Russian attacks has doubled in the last two weeks. At a press conference, Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, indicated that 202 missiles were fired at Ukraine in the second half of June, an increase of 120. compared to the first fortnight. Hromov noted that Putin’s forces are trying to hit military and critical infrastructure, but also hit civilian targets.

In this regard, the Ukrainian military said that Russia is using missiles from Soviet reserves in more than 50% of the attacks, and these do not have enough precision. He estimated that his forces have attacked civilian sites 68 times in the second half of June.

A senior Pentagon official also told reporters on Monday that Russia carried out 60 missile strikes across the country, including the capital, over the weekend. He avoided attributing a cause. “We are not very sure about the Russian targets of the attacks. They could certainly be a protest against the G7, or of the arrival of the HIMARS [sistema lanzamisiles estadounidense] to the country” or, he said, “it could be a broader part of their long-term battle strategy.” “But there were more attacks in the last week than we had seen in the last few weeks.”

In an intelligence update on Tuesday, the British Defense Ministry also said that between June 24 and 26, Moscow had launched “unusually intense waves of attacks across Ukraine” using long-range missiles. “It is very likely that these weapons included the Soviet-era AS-4 KITCHEN and the more modern AS-23a KODIAK missiles, fired from both Belarusian and Russian airspace.” These weapons, the UK explains, were “designed to attack targets of strategic importance, but Russia continues to spend them in large numbers for tactical advantage.”

Regarding Monday’s shopping mall attack, Britain believes there is a “realistic possibility” that the Russian military was aiming to hit a nearby infrastructure target. “Russia’s inaccuracy in carrying out long-range strikes has previously led to incidents with mass civilian casualties, such as at the Kramatorsk train station on April 9, 2022. Russian officials are likely to remain willing to accept a high level of collateral damage when they perceive the military necessity to attack an objective”. In the opinion of the British ministry, it is almost certain that Putin’s forces will continue to carry out “attacks in an effort to intercept the resupply of the forces of the Ukrainian front”. “Russia’s shortage of more modern precision strike weapons and the professional shortcomings of its target planners will most likely lead to further civilian casualties.”

In one of his last reports, Amnesty International, which has repeatedly documented indiscriminate attacks during the invasion, said that the continued use of imprecise explosive weapons in populated civilian areas “may even amount to directing attacks against the civilian population.”

The Kremlin insists that it is limited to attacking military targets. He repeated it again this Friday, after the attack in Odessa. “I would like to remind once again that the President and Commander-in-Chief of Russia has repeatedly said that the Russian Army during the special military operation [eufemismo de Moscú para designar su invasión] it does not attack civilian targets or civilian infrastructure. It carries out attacks on military warehouses, industrial facilities where military equipment undergoes maintenance and repairs, ammunition depots, and the sites where mercenaries and nationalist elements are stationed and trained,” the Russian presidential spokesman told reporters. Dmitry Peskov.

But in four months of war Russian bombs have hit hospitals, nurseries and apartment blocks. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has left a trail of destruction in its wake, forcing millions to flee and claiming thousands of lives. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed that at least 4,731 civilians have been killed, 330 of them minors, since the start of the offensive, and a slightly higher number wounded. However, it is assumed that the real figures are higher. Most of the recorded civilian casualties were due to the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including heavy artillery shelling and multiple launch rocket systems, and air and missile attacks.





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