Ukrainian missiles hit Russian-controlled area as Kyiv prepares to counterattack south According to Reuters
© Reuters. A man rides a bicycle at an empty Konstytutsii (Constitution) square before curfew after Russian shelling during a military attack, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on July 11, 2022. REUTERS / Nacho Doce
By Tom Balmforth and Pavel Polityuk
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine on Tuesday said it had successfully carried out a long-range missile strike against Russian forces in southern Ukraine, territory it said it was planning to recapture in the coming weeks. a counterattack using hundreds of thousands of troops.
According to Ukraine, the attack hit an ammunition dump in the town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region and killed 52 Russians. It comes after Washington supplied Ukraine with the HIMARS mobile artillery system, which Kyiv says its forces are using with greater efficiency than ever before.
A Russian-installed official in Kherson came up with a different version. He said at least seven people were killed and civilians and civilian infrastructure were affected.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield accounts.
The area that Ukraine attacked is one that Russia occupied after launching on February 24 what Moscow called “a special military operation” and strategically important for access to the Black Sea, a a thriving agricultural industry and a location just north of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia. .
Ukrainian government officials have spoken of efforts to mobilize up to 1 million troops and their aim to recapture southern regions of the country under Russian control.
“Based on the results of our missile and artillery units, the enemy lost 5️2 (persons), one Msta-B howitzer, one mortar and seven armored vehicles and other vehicles, also as an ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka,” the Southern Ukrainian military command said in the statement.
Unverified videos posted on social media showed smoke and sparks, followed by a giant fireball spewing into the night sky. Images released by Russian state media showed a wasteland covered with rubble and the remains of buildings.
An official of the Russian-installed local government said Ukraine used HIMARS missiles and destroyed storages of Saltpetre, a chemical compound that could be used to make fertilizer or gunpowder. resulting in a large explosion.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the type of weapon used.
Vladimir Leontyev, head of the military-civilian body of the Kakhovka District created by Russia, was quoted by Russia’s TASS news agency as saying that at least seven people were killed in the attack and about 60 were injured.
“There are still many people under the rubble. The injured are being taken to the hospital, but many are locked in their apartments and houses,” Leontyev was quoted as saying by TASS.
He was also quoted as saying that warehouses, shops, pharmacies, gas stations and a church were attacked.
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Russia accuses Ukraine of shelling its own people in territory over which it has lost control. Ukraine says it is evacuating as many people as possible from areas occupied by Russian forces in what it and the West see as Moscow’s imperialist land grab.
Kyiv and the West say the Russian attacks are indiscriminate, killing civilians and leveling city districts.
Moscow denies targeting civilians but many Ukrainian settlements have been left in ruins as Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II approaches the five-month mark.
Russia has been trying to introduce the ruble in Kherson and is offering Russian passports to locals. Russian-installed officials have said they also plan to hold a referendum on the region becoming part of Russia but have not set a date.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister on Sunday called on civilians in Kherson to urgently evacuate as the Ukrainian armed forces were preparing to counterattack there.
“Obviously there will be fighting, there will be shelling … and therefore we urge (people) to evacuate urgently,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television.
She said she couldn’t say exactly when the counterattack would happen.
“I know for sure that there should be no women and children there, and that they should not become human shields,” she said.
Ukraine is preparing for what it expects will be a new major Russian offensive in the east of the country, where Moscow has said it is determined to gain control of the entire Donbas industrial region.
Russian forces have for weeks shelled areas of Donetsk, part of the Donbas.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said at a press conference that there is a large amount of Russian troops, especially in the regions of Bakhmut and Siversky, and around Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
The entire front line in the region was under constant shelling as the Russian troops tried to break through but were pushed back, he said.
TASS separately reports that Russian and Russian-backed forces are besieging the town of Sieversk.
Other locations in Ukraine were also attacked.
The regional governor said at least 12 people were wounded in shelling on the southern city of Mykolaiv and the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, told Ukrainian TV channel they were also under pressure. force.
Mayor Oleh Terekhov said: “Russia did not leave Kharkiv alone for a second and bombarded the city continuously.
“We don’t stop for a minute to prepare to defend the city and the region.”