- Ukraine president condemns ‘Russian terrorism’
- 15 killed in missile-fired apartment complex
- Kiev says counterattack could come as soon as orders are given
KYIV (Reuters) – Kiev said on Friday it was almost ready to launch a massive ground attack to retake occupied territories after striking almost two months ago.
The war is about to take a critical turn after months of little progress in Russia’s winter offensive in what may be the bloodiest battle to date. Kiev is preparing a counteroffensive with hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles sent from the West, hoping to drive Russia out of almost a fifth of the land it claims to have occupied and annexed. I’m in.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oresky Reznikov said in an online news briefing that “if there is a will of God, the weather and the commander’s decision, we will immediately implement it.”
Ukraine has become “pretty much” ready to launch its campaign, he said. Its new modern weapon acts as an “iron fist”.
In downtown Uman, firefighters battled raging flames at a residential complex where Russian missiles hit the upper floors. Officials said at least 15 people were killed there, including at least two children.
Rescuers climbed a huge pile of smoldering debris to carry the bodies on stretchers. The masked man sobbed as he watched, and a woman came to comfort him.
“A window blew out first, then an explosion,” said Olga, who named an apartment resident as rescuers dug up the debris.
The wave of overnight Russian missile attacks was the first since early March. Russia had conducted such attacks almost weekly during the winter, but the Western powers said Moscow was short on missiles, and the numbers tapered off as spring came.
In the southeastern city of Dnipro, a 2-year-old child and a 31-year-old woman were killed when a missile hit a house, said regional governor Serhiy Lysak.
The capital Kiev was rocked by the blast early in the morning, as were the central cities of Kremenchuk and Poltava, as well as Mykolaiv in the south. Two of his men were injured in the Ukrainian town just south of Kiev, officials said.
The Ukrainian military said it shot down 21 of 23 Russian cruise missiles. The Russian government claims it did not intentionally target civilians. Kiev says attacks on cities far from the front lines have no military purpose other than to intimidate and harm civilians, a war crime.
“This Russian terrorism must face a fair response from Ukraine and the world,” President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a Telegram post with images of the wreckage. “And so it will be.”
In Donetsk, near the front line, an eastern city controlled by Russian agents since 2014, Russian-installed officials said seven people were killed in Ukrainian shelling that hit a minibus. Reuters could not confirm the reports.
Russia has been consolidating its territory for months in anticipation of a planned attack on Kiev, along a front of hundreds of kilometers.
Ukraine has made rapid progress throughout the second half of 2022, but has maintained its defenses over the past five months. Meanwhile, Russia has launched a massive winter campaign using hundreds of thousands of newly recruited reservists and prisoners recruited from prisons as mercenaries.
But despite the fiercest ground fighting in Europe since World War II, Moscow remained largely focused on the small mining city of Bakhmut, which the Ukrainians had endured for almost a year. Acquired little additional territory.
Kiev and its Western supporters hope a boost by thousands of Ukrainian troops trained at Western bases, using hundreds of newly donated tanks and armored vehicles, will change the dynamics of the war. I’m in
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week that nearly all of the combat vehicles pledged by foreign allies and partners in Kiev have been delivered.
Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine last February, claiming the Kiev government posed a threat. Ukraine and her Western allies call this a war of conquest without cause.
Reported by Ron Popesky. Written by Michael Perry.Editing by Robert Barthel
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