144th day of hostilities: Ukraine accuses Russia of attacking southern cities

Ukraine said Russian missiles hit industrial facilities in the southern city of Mykolayiv today as Moscow continues to push ahead with its offensive in the east.

Mykolayiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said Russian missiles hit an important industrial facility and shipbuilding center at the mouth of the Southern Bug River in the city.

Mykolayiv has faced frequent Russian missile attacks in recent weeks, as Russian forces seek to undermine Ukraine’s defenses.

A government building in the city of Mykolayiv, Ukraine, was hit by a rocket in March.  Photo: Reuters.

A government building in the city of Mykolayiv, Ukraine, was hit by a rocket in March. Image: Reuters.

The Russian military has stated its goal of controlling the entire Black Sea coast of Ukraine as far as the Romanian border. If successful, the plan would deal a blow to Ukraine’s economy and trade, and would allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region, home to a Russian military base.

Early in the conflict, Ukrainian forces successfully resisted Russian attempts to control Mykolayiv, a city located near the Black Sea coast between Crimea and the port of Odessa.

Since then, the Russian military has ceased operations against the city, but still regularly conducts missile raids.

The Russian military has not commented on the alleged attack on the industrial facility in Mykolayiv, but has repeatedly confirmed that it did not strike civilian targets, but only targeted Ukrainian military facilities.

Currently, the Russian military is focused on trying to control the Donbass, the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says its forces still control two small villages in the Lugansk region, one of two that make up the Donbass region, and are preventing Russia from advancing further into Donetsk.

Ukraine’s General Staff said today that the Ukrainian army has stopped the advance of Russian forces towards Sloviansk, an important Ukrainian stronghold in Donetsk.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 16 urged Ukrainians not to panic amid Russia’s repeated warnings of impending terrible missile attacks.

“It is clear that no Russian missile or artillery can break our solidarity or derail us from the path towards an independent, democratic Ukraine,” he said in his speech. night before the whole country. “And it’s also clear that Ukraine’s unity cannot be broken by lies, threats, fake news or conspiracy theories.”

Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, said on July 16 that Russia was preparing for the next phase of its military operation in the country, after the Russian Defense Minister called on forces to step up. military operations in “all areas where troops are stationed”.

“It’s not just missile strikes from the air and at sea,” Skibitskyi said. “We can see shelling along the entire front line. The enemy is also actively using fighters and helicopters to attack.”

“It is clear that they are preparing for the next phase of the campaign,” he added.

According to the Ukrainian military, Russia appears to be regrouping units for an offensive against Sloviansk, the important symbolic city currently controlled by Ukraine in Donetsk.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced today that its forces shot down a Ukrainian Mi-17 helicopter in the city of Sloviansk and a Su-25 attack aircraft in the Kharkov region, to the northeast.

Their long-range anti-aircraft missiles also destroyed an arsenal in an industrial area in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which contained Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered by NATO to Kiev.

Ukraine was not immediately available for comment.

The face of the Ukrainian battlefield after more than 4 months of fighting.  Graphics: Washington Post.

The face of the Ukrainian battlefield after more than 4 months of fighting. Graphics: Washington Post.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recorded 5,024 civilian deaths and 6,520 injuries since the conflict broke out on February 24. The actual number may be higher due to hostilities hindering the verification and statistical process.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports more than 9.1 million people have left Ukraine and nearly 3.7 million have entered Ukraine from abroad during the nearly five months of conflict. The agency records more than 5.8 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe.

Vu Hoang (Theo AFP, Reuters, AP)

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