Thursday, May 19

Russia continues attacks against civilians and the conflict reaches the center of Mariupol

The twenty-fourth day since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine dawned with a message from its president, Volodímir Zelenski, in which he assured that “it is time to meet. It is time to speak. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine.” A request that comes after a week in which the negotiations between Moscow and kyiv to reach an agreement that would allow a ceasefire seemed more on track, but which have not stopped the offensive ordered by Putin or the attacks against civilian targets denounced by the authorities. local.

This same Saturday, the Russian forces have entered Mariupol and fighting is taking place in the center of the city, one of the most affected by the Russian siege, which has caused it to take more than a week without electricity supplies, medicines or foods. According to statements by a local official, which The Guardian collects, these clashes in the middle of the urban area are preventing the authorities from rescuing civilians trapped since Wednesday under the rubble of a theater bombed by Russia.

Already in the morning, in the report that the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces shares every day on Facekook, it was warned that the Russian forces were carrying out “assault and raid operations in the vast majority of areas” and that “the main Efforts are focused on capturing the city of Vugledar and the heroic Mariupol.” Precisely, the authorities have been trying for weeks to evacuate the civilian population of this city, with little success. Earlier in the day, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had announced the intention to open a dozen humanitarian corridors, one of them from Mariupol, from where a total of 9,000 people were evacuated on Friday, according to data provided by President Zelensky in the video , broadcast by Telegram.

After noon, Vereshchuck has confirmed the opening of these corridors. They are, in addition to the one that links Mariupol with Berdyansk, another four in the Lugansk region, in the separatist zone of Donbas, and others for the towns surrounding the capital, kyiv. The governor of the Lugansk region, Serhiy Gaiday, already indicated earlier that they would try to open these roads to “evacuate people and bring food”. The Ukrainian General Staff has also warned of “(Russian) operations in some areas” of this area, located in the east of the country.

The mayor of Mikolaev, Alexander Senkevich, has denounced Russian bombing that would have left “dozens” dead in this city because, according to his account, there was no time to activate the anti-aircraft alarm that alerts the population to protect themselves from the attacks. Some media speak of 40 deaths. Regional authorities have also reported attacks on residential areas in Donesk, kyiv, Mariupol, Avdiivka, Kramatorsk, Pokrovsk, Novoselydivka, Verkhnotoretske, Krymka and Stepne.

Russia, a new strategy

Mykhailo Podoliak, advisor to the Ukrainian president, warned this Saturday that “the Russian army is not at war with the Ukrainian army, it is only at war with civilians and is using the tactic of surrounding large cities and attacking them with cruise missiles and bombs. of air to create humanitarian crises. According to his prognosis, Moscow’s goal at the moment is “to create a theater of war like the siege or the Afghan one in Ukraine.”

These statements by one of Zelensky’s top advisers are consistent with the latest report from the UK Ministry of Defense intelligence services. In it, British intelligence states that “the Kremlin has now failed to achieve its original objectives” because “it has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of the Ukrainian resistance”, which has led Putin to launch a strategy of wear. In the opinion of the British department, this strategy will involve “the indiscriminate use of firepower, which will result in an increase in civilian casualties, the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure and the intensification of the humanitarian crisis.”

With Zelenski demanding “to restore the territorial integrity” of Ukraine and Russia demanding a referendum in the separatist regions of Donbas, as one of the requirements for an agreement in the negotiations, the British Foreign Minister, Liz Truss, has warned that talks between kyiv and Moscow may be a “smokescreen”. In an interview published this Saturday in The Times newspaperthe head of British diplomacy has put on the table the possibility that Russia is using these meetings to regroup its troops and prepare a new offensive.

“If a country is serious about (peace) negotiations, it does not indiscriminately bomb civilians on a daily basis,” Truss said, acknowledging that Ukraine has “every right to undertake any negotiation process as it sees fit.” but that he does not see “any serious withdrawal of Russian troops or any proposal on the table.”

In fact, both local authorities and Western intelligence have been warning for days of an imminent new attack to take kyiv, beyond those that have been taking place in recent days against residential areas, which this day have already caused seven deaths there according to the local police. This Saturday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces has again pointed out that “the enemy (Russia) does not give up offensive operations in kyiv and tries to regroup combat units” around the city.

hypersonic missiles

While the Ukrainian armed forces denounce Russian efforts to blockade Sumy and destroy infrastructure in Kharkov, to the northeast, Russia reported this Saturday that, overnight, it fired shots at 69 military installations on Ukrainian territory, including 12 warehouses and 43 vehicle parking spaces. “In addition, Russian aviation anti-aircraft teams shot down 12 Ukrainian drones,” said a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov.

Perhaps the most striking thing about tonight’s Russian offensive was the launch of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, a type of weapon that can multiply the speed of sound by 10 and circumvent or limit the capacity of anti-aircraft defenses. According to Konashénkov, with them they would have destroyed a Ukrainian warehouse with weapons and aerial ammunition in the town of Deliatin, in the Ivanko-Frankovsk region, in the west of the country, and less than 70 kilometers from the border with Romania.

For its part, the Ukrainian Armed Forces claim to have destroyed about 95 Russian combat aircraft, 115 helicopters, 72 missile launch systems and 44 air defense systems throughout the war. The Ukrainians claim to have also destroyed 1,470 armored combat vehicles, 60 fuel tanks and 11 special vehicles. In addition, according to the General Staff, at least 14,400 Russian soldiers have died in the fighting. Zelensky made reference to them, and to other “thousands of wounded and maimed” in his early morning message addressing the Russian population: “This is the price of the war in just over three weeks. The war must end.”

Among those fallen soldiers is also, according to the Ukrainian authorities, General Andry Mordvichev. He would be the fifth Russian general to die since the start of the offensive on February 24. According to Interior Ministry adviser Vadim Desinenko, not even during World War II did the Soviet Union lose so many generals in just three weeks.

847 civilians killed

The Ukrainian Children’s Prosecutor’s Office has also denounced this day that at least 112 children have died in the country since the beginning of the offensive and that more than 140 have been injured in the Russian attacks. In addition, the Public Ministry has also reported material damage in 289 educational institutions in the country, fifty more than those reported the previous day. These data have not been verified by independent organizations, but the United Nations has confirmed almost 847 dead civilians, of whom 21 are boys and seven are girls, in addition to another 36 pending identification, and 1,399 wounded “since 4:00 a.m. on 24 February, when the armed attack of the Russian Federation against Ukraine began, until 12:00 a.m. on March 18.”

The UN points out in a statement that the real figures “are considerably higher, especially in the territory controlled by the Government and especially in recent days”, due to the fact that attacks have intensified in some areas. In addition, it points out that the majority of victims have been due to the use of explosive weapons with a “wide impact area.”





www.eldiario.es