Under pressure in southern Ukraine, Russia fired missiles and drones at Ukrainian-controlled Mykolaiv on Sunday, destroying an apartment block in the shipbuilding town near the front and warning that the war was heading for an “escalation”. uncontrollable”.
Mykolaiv is about 35 km northwest of the front line to Kherson, the southern region that is the target of a major offensive by Ukrainian forces to retake territory that Russia captured shortly after the invasion. February 24 invasion.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom Russian nationalists blamed for Moscow’s setbacks in the war, discussed the “rapidly deteriorating situation” in calls with their French and Turkish counterparts, the folder said.
Shoigu said Ukraine could step up action with a “dirty bomb” consisting of conventional explosives mixed with radioactive material, without providing evidence. Ukraine does not have nuclear weapons, while Russia claims it could protect the tRussian territory with its nuclear arsenal.
In a conventional Russian strike on Sunday, a missile destroyed the top floor of an apartment building in Mykolaiv, sending shrapnel and debris into a square and neighboring buildings. Cars were crushed under the rubble, Reuters testified. No deaths were reported.
“After the first explosion, I tried to get out, but the door was locked. After a minute or two, there was a second explosion. Our door exploded in the hallway,” said Oleksandr Mezinov, 50, who was awakened by the blasts.
Ukraine shot down 14 Russian “kamikaze” drones over Mykolaiv overnight, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram. The drones are designed to explode on impact and hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure this month.
Kim said Russia also attacked with S-300 missiles, one of which hit the five-story building.
Intensification of attacks
Russian troops have withdrawn from parts of the front in recent weeks and occupation authorities are moving civilians deeper into Russian-held territory ahead of an expected battle for Kherson, the regional capital on the west bank of the Dnipro River. Kherson is a gateway to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Russian officials based in Kherson said one man was killed and three injured after an explosion in the city, according to a Russian state news agency. Emergency services said an improvised explosive device was detonated near a car in the city.
Reuters could not verify the Kherson attack or Kim’s report on missiles and drones.
Ukraine’s advances in recent weeks around Kherson and in the northeast of the country have been met with intensified Russian missile and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure, which have destroyed about 40% of Ukraine’s power system before winter.
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of planning to blow up the Nova Kakhovka dam, which if ruptured could flood a swath of southern Ukraine, including Kherson.
Neither side has presented evidence to support their claims about the dam, which supplies water to Crimea and the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
In Kherson, occupation authorities have instructed civilians to leave, the latest sign of trouble Russia is facing in what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“Due to the tense situation at the front, the increased risk of massive bombings in the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left bank. [leste] from Dnipro!” read the statement released on Telegram.
“We want to stay”
Thousands of civilians left Kherson after warnings of a Ukrainian offensive to recapture the city.
In Oleshky, on the east bank, Reuters saw people arriving by boat from Kherson, laden with boxes, bags and pets. A woman carried a child under one arm and a dog under the other.
“I really didn’t want [sair]I’m still working,” said one resident. “We wanted to stay here in the area, but now we don’t know.”
Ukraine’s military said it was making gains in the south, taking at least two villages that Russia said it had abandoned. Reuters could not independently verify the data.
Ukraine’s President Volodmyr Zelensky said Russian attacks on energy infrastructure had reached a “very broad” scale. He promised that his military would improve an already good record of shooting down missiles with the help of its partners.
With the war about to begin its ninth month and winter looming, the potential for freezing misery looms large.
More than 1 million people were left without power, said presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko. According to a city official, the attacks could leave Kiev without power or heat for days or weeks.
Moscow has acknowledged targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians.
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.