Zelenskyy says Ukrainian monastery caught fire, destroyed after attack
President Zelenskyy claimed that 113 Orthodox churches had already been destroyed or damaged by Russia since the start of the invasion in February.
Patrick Colson-Price, USA TODAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that the new inclusion of Western long-range missile systems in Ukraine’s defenses would lead to Moscow hitting “things we haven’t hit yet.”
Smoke billowed from Kyiv, hit by airstrikes after a lull in assaults on the capital. Putin’s threat came just days after the United States announced it was giving Ukraine advanced weapons.
Military analysts say Russia is hoping to invade the eastern region of Donbass, where Russian-backed separatists have fought the Ukrainian government for years, before any weapons that could turn the tide arrive. The Pentagon said earlier this week that it would take at least three weeks to bring US precision weapons and trained troops to the battlefield.
Russian forces pounded railway facilities and other infrastructure early Sunday in Kyiv, which had previously experienced weeks of eerie calm. Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom said a cruise missile buzzed the Pivdennukrainsk nuclear power plant, about 220 miles south, en route to the capital – citing the dangers of such an accident averted from correctness.
In a post on the Telegram app, the Russian Defense Ministry said high-precision, long-range air-launched missiles were used. He said strikes on the outskirts of Kyiv destroyed T-72 tanks supplied by Eastern European countries and other armored vehicles located in the buildings of a car repair company.
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► The main temple of a Ukrainian Orthodox monastery in the Donetsk region was hit by Russian airstrikes, a Ukrainian official said on Saturday. The Sviatohirsk Lavra, a wooden structure, was on fire in a video posted on Twitter by presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
►Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Twitter that he is embarking on a multi-stop international trip on Tuesday that will end in a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels discuss Ukraine, as well as the NATO candidacies of Sweden and Finland.
►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that Russia now controls almost 20% of the country’s territory. Before the war, Russia controlled 7%, including the Crimean peninsula and parts of Donbass.
Ukrainian forces counterattacked in the disputed eastern Ukrainian town of Sieverodonetsk, likely blunting Russia’s momentum, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an assessment released on Sunday. Russian forces in the region include reserves of Russian-led separatist forces from the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic – troops that are poorly equipped and trained, and lack heavy equipment compared to regular Russian units, according to the assessment. . The use of proxy infantry forces for urban mine clearance operations is a Russian tactic previously seen in Syria.
“This approach likely indicates a desire to limit casualties to Russian regular forces,” the assessment said.
The Welsh government has issued thousands of visas to Ukrainian families, and Welsh families have welcomed many Ukrainian refugees into their homes. But sympathy for the Ukrainians’ plight will end on Sunday for a World Cup clash when Wales host Ukraine in Cardiff. The winning team will qualify for the World Cup final in Qatar this fall; the other side will be left outside looking inside.
Ukrainian players enter the field with a yellow and blue flag sent by soldiers in the front line. Wales captain Gareth Bales has said he supports Ukraine on the battlefield, but not on the football pitch.
“Everyone in the world feels for Ukraine,” he said. “We understand what it will do for Ukraine, but we want to go to the World Cup. It does not come from a horrible place, but it comes from our country, from our hearts. We want to give our own fans .”
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pushed back on Sunday against French President Emmanuel Macron’s warning against Russia’s humiliation, despite his “historic” mistake of invading Ukraine.
“We must not humiliate Russia so that the day the fighting stops, we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means,” Macron said, French media reported on Friday. “I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power.”
On Twitter on Sunday, Podolyak said“As someone asks not to humiliate, the Kremlin resorts to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes in Kyiv have only one goal – to kill as many people as possible.”
He then called for more weapons to fight Russia, as well as additional sanctions.
Contributor: Associated Press