Earlier this week, Hanna walked into the remains of her home destroyed in a Russian bombardment in the town of Chernihiv, Ukraine. Photo by Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA-EFE
June 25 (UPI) — Russian forces launched dozens of missiles across Ukraine on Saturday morning, including in northern and western regions of the country, officials said.
Missiles hit over 40 targets across Ukraine, including the north and west largely spared in recent weeks as Moscow focused on the eastern Donbass region.
Bombers from a Russian airfield flew to the Ukrainian border after entering Belarusian airspace and fired the missiles overnight, according to Belarusian monitoring group Belarusian Guyun, which detailed Russian actions since the beginning of the war on February 24.
Officials also said the attack primarily hit military installations.
Local officials in Ukraine confirmed the attack, which Ukraine’s military intelligence agency described as “a large-scale provocation by Russia with the aim of dragging Belarus further into the war against Ukraine”, reported the New York Times.
Russian forces fired at least 24 missiles at the outskirts of Zhytomyr, about 80 miles west of Kyiv, according to Zhytomyr Mayor Sergey Sukhomlyn. Zhytomyr regional governor Vitaly Bunechko said at least one soldier was killed and another injured.
East of Kyiv, in the Chernihiv region, regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus said a “massive missile attack” had destroyed infrastructure in the village of Desna where Ukrainian forces have a military base.
In March, Russian strikes on Chernihiv killed and injured scores of civilians, according Human Rights Watch.
By early April, Ukrainian troops had driven Russian fighters out of the Chernihiv region, but Chaus said Saturday’s strike was a sign that the war in the region “is not over”.
New strike by Russian forces in the Black Sea on Saturday morning hit the Yavoriv military facility near Lviv. The strike injured four people, regional governor Maxim Kozitsky said.
The Yavoriv district was also the target of a strike in March who killed 35 people and injured at least 130 people, according to Ukrainian officials.
On Friday, Ukraine withdrew its troops from the key city of Severodonetsk after months of bombardment, marking a victory for Russia in its effort to seize the eastern region of Donbass.
Still, the battle for Lysychansk, another key town in eastern Severodonetsk, raged on Saturday.
The British Ministry of Defense says in an update that Ukraine was “probably reconfiguring its defence” of the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk region amid Russian forces advancing “to the southern edge of the construction zone”.
The update also says there has been a shake-up in the Russian high command “since the beginning of June”, including the removal of several generals from “key operational command roles”.
These referrals have included Airborne Forces Commander Gen.-Col. Andrei Serdyukov and the commander of the southern group forces, army general Alexandr Dvornikov, according to the update.
Col.-Gen. Sergei Surovikin is likely to take command of the SGF, which continues to be key to the Russian offensive in the Donbass, although Surovikin “has been dogged by allegations of corruption and brutality”, added the British Ministry of Health. defense.
Meanwhile, in the already captured Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the 120,000 captive residents are suffering under Russian rule.
In a city council Telegram Post, Boychenko said there was no working sewage system or potable water, and tons of uncollected garbage was piling up. Amid the unsanitary conditions, he worried about the spread of cholera and dysentery.
“All this endangers the life and health of Mariupol residents who find themselves in a real ghetto,” Boychenko said in the post. “Now everything must be done to give the inhabitants of Mariupol the possibility of leaving the city towards the territory controlled by Ukraine.”
Since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war on February 24, at least 4,677 civilians have been killed and 5,829 civilians have been injured, according to Latest update from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The update noted that actual civilian casualties could be significantly higher due to delayed reports and numerous reports still awaiting substantiation.