As Ukraine intensifies pressure in the south, Russian missile strikes rain down across the country | New York Times

by UKCHP_Admin

Russian forces launched missile strikes against a string of targets in Ukraine over the past 24 hours, killing three civilians, damaging energy infrastructure and forcing residents to find cover in their homes or in shelters, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday.

Those and other recent strikes across Ukraine have caused hardship and death but have not halted Ukraine’s attempts to regain territory, underscoring how Russia’s targeting of civilian infrastructure in cities including Kyiv and other towns has not translated into fundamental changes on the battlefield.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in an overnight speech that more than 10 regions in the north, east and south of the country had been attacked since Tuesday.

Missiles rained down on the southern town of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Province for almost seven hours, killing three people and wounding eight others, Oleksandr Starukh, the head of Ukraine’s military administration in the region, wrote on Telegram. He said the attack had destroyed homes, an educational facility and the town council building, forcing 200 people to evacuate from the town and cutting off power and water.

Even before this latest attack, most residents had already fled the town, which is squeezed between the Ukrainian and Russian front lines in an increasingly volatile battlefield in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian control of the town has stood in the way of Russian attempts to close in on the much larger provincial capital.

Russia has pounded civilian targets in Ukraine since its full-scale invasion began in February, on occasion killing dozens of civilians in a single attack. But Moscow has escalated its attacks since Oct. 8, in response to an attack on a bridge that connects the Crimean Peninsula with Russia. The attacks have not stopped Ukraine from stepping up its own pressure in a counteroffensive to retake the strategically important southern region of Kherson.

Control of that area, however precarious, matters to Russia. It allows Russian forces to operate on the western side of the Dnipro River, which divides the country into two. That, in turn, allows Russia to threaten the rest of the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea coast, including the city of Odesa.

Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been in Russia’s cross hairs, and Mr. Zelensky said this week that 30 percent of the country’s power stations had been struck. On Wednesday, missiles hit a power plant in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, cutting off electricity, according to Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the regional military administration.

Missiles also struck a coal-fired power plant in Burshtyn, in western Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk Province, the head of the regional military administration, Svitlana Onyshchuk, wrote on Telegram. Attacks on western Ukraine, which is far from the war’s front lines, are relatively rare.

“A fire broke out,” Ms. Onyshchuk wrote. “All services are working. Rescuers are on site.”

Shelling damaged three ambulances in Kharkiv Province in the northeast of the country on Wednesday, according to a statement posted on Facebook by the regional council, which said that nobody was injured. Ukrainian forces last month recaptured dozens of towns in the region, dealing a heavy blow to Russia and challenging President Vladimir V. Putin’s war effort.

Buttressed by air defense systems from its western allies, the Ukrainian military has improved its ability to shoot down missiles since the Russian invasion began in February. Ukraine’s Air Force Command said in a statement that it had shot down four out of six cruise missiles and 10 self-destructing drones aimed at Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and in Vinnytsia region, southwest of Kyiv, over the past 24 hours.



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