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Friday April 19, 2024

Ukraine strikes bridges in occupied areas as Russia pours overnight attacks

Attacks multiplied from both sides since Russia's exit from deal protecting grain exports

By Web Desk
August 06, 2023
Russian servicemen patrol the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraines port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022. — AFP/File
Russian servicemen patrol the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol on May 18, 2022. — AFP/File

Russia launched multiple overnight attacks on Ukraine on Sunday, while Kyiv answered by striking bridges in occupied territories with the Ukrainian air force claiming to have shot down 30 out of 40 cruise missiles and all Shahed drones launched by Russia.

"In total, the enemy used 70 air attack weapons in several waves in the night from Saturday to Sunday," said officials from the Ukrainian air force, adding that Russia launched three Kinzhal hypersonic missiles but did not disclose if they had been destroyed.

While the Ukrainian armed forces did not specify the sites that were hit by the missiles crossing air defences, the Russian army said it struck "Ukrainian armed forces airbases around the settlements of Starokostiantyniv in the Khmelnytskyi region and Dubno in the Rivne region".

The western Khmelnytskyi region, hundreds of kilometres from the front lines of combat and home to a significant airbase, has been regularly attacked during the war.

"Since yesterday evening, the Khmelnytskyi region has been attacked three times... most missiles were shot down," said local official Sergiy Tyurin who also announced that several buildings and the bus station were damaged, via Telegram.

He also shared images of a burning building in disrepair, claiming it was a grain waste storage.

According to Vitaliy Koval, the district administrator, "only a few private households were damaged" in the Rivne region that Russia claimed it struck.

Several bridges taken down

On Saturday, Ukraine said Russian forces struck a blood transfusion centre in the Kharkiv region of northeast Ukraine.

"This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The Kharkiv region has been the target of repeated Russian strikes, such as this building hit on Tuesday. — AFP/File
The Kharkiv region has been the target of repeated Russian strikes, such as this building hit on Tuesday. — AFP/File

The reported strike came shortly after Zelensky said Russian missiles had hit a facility of the Ukrainian aeronautics group Motor Sich, one of several companies requisitioned by the government since Moscow's invasion.

Russian air defences were also at work on Sunday, as Ukraine targeted two bridges on occupied territory.

"The enemy launched a missile attack near the Chongar bridge" that connects southern Ukraine to the annexed Crimean peninsula, Moscow-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said on Telegram.

"One hit, some missiles were shot down," Aksyonov said, adding that repair work was ongoing.

A separate attack on a bridge near Genichesk in southern Kherson wounded a civilian and damaged a gas pipeline, cutting supplies for about 20,000 residents, Moscow-installed official Vladimir Saldo said.

Russian air defense shot down a drone approaching Moscow without casualties, lifting restrictions on flights at Vnukovo airport. The drone attack has increased in recent months, targeting regions bordering Ukraine and Moscow.

A picture taken on July 17, 2023 shows a Russian warship sailing near the Kerch bridge, linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, following an attack claimed by Ukrainian forces. — AFP/File
A picture taken on July 17, 2023 shows a Russian warship sailing near the Kerch bridge, linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, following an attack claimed by Ukrainian forces. — AFP/File

Peace talks amid rising tensions

A Ukrainian drone had hit a Russian oil tanker south of the Kerch Strait in the night between Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning, repair work was being carried out on the vessel that was still afloat, according to Russia's Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport.

Attacks have multiplied on both sides of the Black Sea since Russia exited a deal protecting grain exports there, brokered by the UN and Turkey.

Russia has hit port infrastructure on the Black Sea and the Danube, while Ukraine has targeted Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

While combat continues, the likelihood of securing peace looks extremely thin.

Saudi Arabia nevertheless hosted talks on the Ukraine war Saturday, with organisers bringing together representatives of the four members of the influential BRICS bloc — Brazil, India, China and South Africa — but not Russia.

"We had an extremely honest, open conversation," a statement on the Ukrainian presidency website said Sunday, calling the consultation "very productive" despite "different views".

The Ukrainian delegation headed by Andriy Yermak is due to hold more bilateral meetings Sunday.