Despite Its Barrage of Missiles, Russia Still Loses Ground in Ukraine | The New York Times

“They use their expensive rockets for nothing, just to frighten people,” a member of Ukraine’s Parliament said of Russian attacks on the country’s cities and infrastructure.

by UKCHP_Admin

KYIV, Ukraine — They exploded with dull thuds on the outskirts of towns and detonated in the center of cities with deafening booms. Strikes in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, left cars burning and splatters of blood on the sidewalks.

Throughout this week, the Russian military fired its most intensive barrage of missiles at Ukraine since the start of the war in February, killing three dozen civilians, knocking out electricity and overwhelming air defenses. One thing the missiles did not do was change the course of the ground war.

Fought mostly in trenches, with the most intense combat now in an area of rolling hills and pine forests in the east and on the open plains in the south, these battles are where control of territory is decided — and where Russia’s military continued to lose ground, despite its missile strikes.

“They use their expensive rockets for nothing, just to frighten people,” Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, said of the Russian cruise missiles, rockets and self-destructing drones used in the strikes. “They think they can scare Ukrainians. But the goal they achieved is only making us angrier.”

The war in the country’s south and east continued apace through the strikes, with Russia mostly falling back, though it was attacking along one section of the front in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved on Friday to reassure his country that it was making progress getting fresh troops to the front, saying that 16,000 draftees had recently been deployed “in units that get involved in fulfilling combat tasks.” He made the remarks as pro-war bloggers intensified their criticism over the reported deaths of new recruits fighting in Ukraine.

Still, during the most intensive days of Russian missile strikes — on Monday and Tuesday — the Ukrainian army continued its offensive in the Kherson region, reclaiming five villages over the two days, according to the military command. The Ukrainian army also liberated a village in the east amid the strikes.

“The Kremlin continues to struggle to message itself out of the reality of mobilization and military failures,” the Institute for the Study of War, a research group, wrote in an analysis published Thursday. “The Kremlin continued its general pattern of temporarily appeasing the nationalist communities by conducting retaliatory missile strikes.”

The war is now separated into two largely unconnected arenas: The battles in the sky, in which Russia seeks to demoralize Ukrainians and cripple their economy with cruise missiles and drones by destroying heating, electricity and water infrastructure as winter sets in, and the battles on the ground, in which Ukraine continues to advance against Russian forces in two areas of the front line.

Russia has even been using the newest addition to its arsenal, Shahed-136 kamikaze drones purchased from Iran, principally for the strategic strikes far from the front line, not in efforts to slow the Ukrainian attacks.

The drones that get past Ukrainian air defenses buzz into cities and explode, blowing up electrical power stations and municipal boilers used to heat neighborhoods.

The Ukrainian General Staff said in its morning report on Friday that in the previous 24 hours, the Russian army and air force had attacked sites around the country with missiles, rockets and self-destructing drones, from the region around Kyiv to Mykolaiv in the south, near the Black Sea.


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