(Drouzhkivka) The Russian army continued its bombing campaign in Ukraine on Saturday, preparing “new actions” after four and a half months of war, according to Ukrainian officials.
Posted at 7:37
Updated at 5:46 p.m
The United States, which continues to increase its military aid to Kyiv, has urged China to condemn “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, and the United Kingdom welcomes a first batch of Ukrainian soldiers who have come for training.
In the Donbass, in the gradually conquered eastern Ukraine, “one day the brutal blows of the Russian artillery will not stop, Sloviansk, Bakhmout, Avdiivka …”, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the evening condemned still “modern and powerful” weapons to himself defend.
“In one day, Russia hit Mykolayiv (south), Kharkiv (northeast), Kryvy Rig (hometown of Mr. Zelensky in the east, ed.), the villages of Zaporijia region (east) … It hit […] intentional, intentional, bare houses, civilian objects, people. There are victims, dead, injured,” he listed.
To the east, residents of the small town of Druzhkivka, south of Kramatorsk, were woken up on Saturday by a suspected missile attack that left a huge crater in front of a damaged supermarket.
Russian forces, which announced in early July that they had taken control of the Luhansk region, are now targeting the Donetsk region in a bid to seize the entire Donbass mine basin, which since 2014 has been partially controlled by Moscow-backed separatists after the Russian Annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea is controlled.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian bombings in Kryvy Rig left at least one dead and two wounded.
For its part, the Russian army claims to have caused significant damage to the Ukrainian army and equipment in the Mykolaiv and Dnepropetrovsk regions.
In its statement, the Russian Defense Ministry also alleges strikes in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, in which six civilians were injured, according to the local Ukrainian prosecutor’s office.
The separatist “authorities” accuse Kyiv of shutting off the gas in Zaporijia.
The Russian army “is in the process of regrouping, or rather re-forming, its groups and preparing new actions in Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmout,” estimated Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko on Telegram on Friday.
According to him, “the entire front line is under constant fire.” On Saturday morning he reported five civilians killed and seven wounded the day before.
Luhansk Governor Sergiy Gaidai said Saturday that Russian forces from their bases in the Luhansk region are targeting the Donetsk region, where there is “not a complete occupation” and which “continues to fight”.
The governors of Kharkiv and Donetsk accused the Russian forces of causing fires with their fire, particularly in fields. “They are trying by all means to destroy the harvest,” he said on Friday.
In the south, police in the Kherson region announced they would launch a criminal case into the destruction of crops by Russian forces.
Weapons and Diplomacy
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, quoted by the Ukrainian media, called on the population of the areas occupied by the Russian army to evacuate by any means and warned: “There will be massive fighting”.
Mr Zelensky also ended the mission of five Ukrainian ambassadors abroad, including Andriï Melnik, who was stationed in Berlin and who had been openly coy about Germany’s support for his country.
“A simple twist, as is customary,” he assured.
He thanked Washington for the new $400 million component of military aid announced the day before. These include four Himars multiple rocket launcher systems and a thousand 155mm shells designed to improve Ukraine’s ability to attack weapons depots and the Russian military’s supply chain.
Washington has already provided $6.9 billion in military aid to Kyiv since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
The US also exerted diplomatic pressure during a G20 ministerial meeting in Indonesia on Friday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blink urged his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in an interview on Saturday to distance himself from Moscow and condemn Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine.
The day before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had slammed the door of the G20 meeting after fierce criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For its part, the United Kingdom on Saturday announced the arrival of a first batch of Ukrainian soldiers as part of an “ambitious new training programme” mobilizing 1,050 British soldiers and unveiled in Kyiv on June 17 by first minister, now resigning Boris Johnson.