Ukraine denounced “deliberate Russian terror” and renewed calls for Western anti-missile systems following deadly attacks in the Odessa region, while Kiev forces face an “extremely difficult” situation in Lysychansk, a key city in the battle for Donbass.
According to Ukrainian military and civilian officials, at least 21 people, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed on Friday by three Russian missiles that destroyed “a large building” and “a tourist complex” in Serhiivka, a city on the Black Sea coast, about 80 km from Odessa, in southern Ukraine.
“This is deliberate Russian terror and not mistakes or an accidental missile attack,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced late on Friday, while local authorities assured that “there was no military target” at the site of the attacks.
In response to the Ukrainian accusations, the Kremlin assured that “Russia’s armed forces do not operate against civilian targets” in Ukraine, a reaction described as “inhumane and cynical” by Berlin.
dozens of injured
According to Kiev, the attacks in Serhiivka injured 38 people, including five children, two of them in serious condition.
“I urge our partners to provide Ukraine with missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives,” implored Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba, calling Russia a “terrorist state.”
According to the Ukrainian army, the projectiles used against Serhiivka were Soviet cruise missiles dating from the Cold War and designed to attack aircraft carriers, the same type as those that hit a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, in broad daylight. day on Monday killing at least 19 people.
Zelensky acknowledged that the situation remains “extremely difficult” in Lyssychansk, in the Donbass, where most of the fighting is concentrated and where the Russians “try to encircle” the Ukrainian army “from the south, east and west”, according to the local governor, Sergiï. Gaïdaï.
In its daily update on the situation at the front, the Ukrainian General Staff said this Saturday (2) that “the Russians carried out an offensive [em direção a uma localidade a poucos quilômetros a oeste da cidade]unsuccessfully”.
On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that its forces had “arrived at the entrance to Lysychansk” and inflicted “heavy losses” on the Ukrainian army.
Lyssychansk is the last major city not yet in Russian hands in the Lugansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbass.
Some forty kilometers further west, in Sloviansk, a city in the Donbass not far from those of Izium and Lyman already in the hands of Russian forces, a rocket attack hit inhabited houses on Friday night, killing a woman who was in her garden and injuring her husband, a neighbor told an AFP journalist.
According to the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, four civilians have been killed and 12 wounded in Sloviansk since Friday morning.
Sloviansk has been experiencing day and night rocket fire for at least a week, hitting residential areas.
International support to Ukraine
Responding to Ukrainian demands for additional weapons, the Pentagon on Friday announced $820 million in new military aid to Kiev, including up to 150,000 155mm projectiles, new missiles for the Himars multiple rocket launchers, which recently arrived at the battlefield, as well as NASAMS air defense systems.
Norway, in turn, announced aid in the form of a donation of around 960 million euros, which will allow Kiev to buy weapons.
Faced with the maritime blockade imposed by Russia, which prevents it from exporting its wheat, Ukraine on Friday asked Turkey to intercept a Russian freighter that left the port of Berdiansk, in the occupied zone, and suspected of transporting thousands of tons of grain stolen by Moscow.
Illustrating the issue of the grain war imposed by Moscow and which worries many African countries that depend on Ukrainian wheat for their food security, the Ukrainian army claimed on Friday, with a supporting video, that the Russian army had bombed twice with Phosphorus bombs the Isle of Serpents, an islet in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian and Romanian coasts and essential for controlling maritime traffic, from which Moscow had assured the day before that it had withdrawn in “a sign of goodwill”.
Kiev, meanwhile, claims that the Russians were driven out by repeated Ukrainian attacks.
On the diplomatic front, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed Kiev’s parliament by video on Friday and urged it to accelerate its anti-corruption reforms as part of Ukraine’s bid to join the bloc.
She also welcomed the passage of a law aimed at combating “the excessive influence of oligarchs on the economy” and called for the adoption of a “law on the media, which brings Ukrainian legislation into line with European Union standards”.