One day after the sinking of Moscow (Moscow), the flagship of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, Russian forces have bombed kyiv again and are fighting in the port and a steel factory for definitive control of the strategic city of Mariupol, in the southeast of the country. This is the Kremlin’s response to the biggest military setback it has suffered since it launched its offensive against Ukraine on February 24.
The conquest of the besieged Mariupol, on the shores of the Black Sea, is fundamental in the military campaign undertaken by President Vladimir Putin. In the port area, Russian units are launching assault operations and have used Tu-22H3 long-range bombers for the first time, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzianik said on Friday. The spokesman then pointed out that there was still “active fighting” around Ilich – which Russia claims to already control – one of the city’s two metallurgical plants and the scene of the heaviest fighting in recent weeks. The Ukrainian government has denied Russian information about its conquest.
“The situation in Mariupol is difficult and tough. The fighting is taking place right now. The Russian Army is constantly bringing in new units to raze the city. But, for the moment, the Russians have not yet managed to fully capture the city,” Motuzianik said. The spokesman explained that the port and the Illich steel factory are the two points where the fighting continues, accompanied by aerial bombardments of the city. The Russian government has already announced in recent weeks the seizure of the airport, the municipal buildings and the theater.
In the east, in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, seven people, including a child, were killed and 34 wounded in a shelling of a residential building, according to city authorities. And in the capital, kyiv, the sound of anti-aircraft alarms returned, after days in which more and more neighbors took to the streets and warnings of possible bombings had become anecdotal. They could be heard several times since Thursday night, while at dawn on the outskirts the most important explosions were recorded since the withdrawal of Russian troops from the area two weeks ago. After hard weeks, the inhabitants of kyiv continued to take to the streets on Friday and the few shops reopened due to the relative calm did not close again. Although life has not come to a standstill, some activities have been moved to underground shelters.
The Russian bombardment, with cruise missiles, destroyed a factory on the outskirts of kyiv in which, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, missiles, some of them anti-ship, were manufactured and repaired. That same day the missile cruiser sank. Moscow. It was being towed after an explosion that Ukraine attributes to an attack by its troops and Russia to an unspecified fire that blew up the ammunition it was carrying.
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Although it does not acknowledge that the ship was attacked, the Russian Defense Ministry has threatened a response. “The number and scale of missile attacks on targets in kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attack or act of sabotage on Russian territory by the nationalist regime in kyiv,” he said in a statement.
This is also the forecast of the spokeswoman for the Armed Forces in southern Ukraine, Natalia Humeniuk. “We understand that the enemy will increase attacks, will try to take revenge, including missile attacks and artillery shelling, and we do not exclude a ground operation. We understand all the threats we face. It has been a major loss for the enemy. We are aware of the economic consequences and in terms of weapons, but also of image. It is a hybrid war and the image has a psychological impact that is also important. they won’t forgive him […]. Our troops have done something quite symbolic, ”he said this Friday in a video conference with journalists.
Washington believes that the explosion of the military vessel was caused by two Ukrainian-made Neptun missiles, according to a senior US Defense Department official quoted by Reuters on Friday. The source claims there were victims, but the numbers “are not clear.” The Russian agency TASS pointed out that the crew of the Moscow has landed in Sevastopol, in the Crimea annexed by Moscow, after being rescued. The official note does not indicate if there are dead or wounded. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashenko said the cruiser’s captain, Anton Kuprin, was killed in the attack. kyiv also says that most of the crew, numbering around 500 people, failed to be evacuated in time.
Moscow, which says its main goal is the total takeover of the Donbas region, has sent a new column of thousands of troops east to launch what Ukraine anticipates will be a full-scale attack. Its start “will be a matter of days and not weeks,” said Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko on Friday. Local authorities have called on the population to leave their cities as soon as possible. “We have seen that the troops have regrouped in the eastern zone and that attacks are taking place,” he said. The spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also pointed out that the Russian Armed Forces are focusing their efforts on taking two other cities in the east of the country: Popásnaya and Rubázhnoye, in the pro-Russian separatist province of Lugansk.