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Russia prepares for next Ukraine offensive in face of new Western weapons

Commodities Jul 17, 2022 07:02PM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. Emergency crew work amidst collapsed building site in Chuhuiv Town, Kharkiv, Ukraine, in this handout image obtained by REUTERS on July 16, 2022. State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS 2/5

By Tom Balmforth and Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) -Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in "all operational areas".

As Western deliveries of long-range arms begin to help Ukraine on the battlefield, Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days.

"It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea," Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said late on Saturday. "We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.

"Clearly preparations are now underway for the next stage of the offensive."

The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping units for an offensive toward Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.

The British defence ministry said on Sunday that Russia was also reinforcing defences across areas it occupies in southern Ukraine after pressure from Ukrainian forces and pledges from Ukrainian leaders to drive Russia out.

Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in Russian shelling of urban areas since Thursday as the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24 intensifies.

Dozens of relatives and local residents attended the funeral of four-year-old Liza Dmytrieva in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Sunday. The girl was killed in a missile strike on central Vinnytsia on Thursday that killed 24 people, according to Ukrainian authorities.

To the south, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets pounded the city of Nikopol on the Dnipro River, killing two people who were found in the rubble, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia had used more than 3,000 cruise missiles to date and it was "impossible to count" the number of artillery and other strikes so far.

ZELENSKIY FIRES TOP OFFICIALS

Meanwhile, Zelenskiy fired the head of Ukraine's powerful domestic security agency, Ivan Bakanov, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who led the effort to prosecute Russian war crimes, saying many of their employees were collaborating with Russia.

Zelenskiy said more than 60 officials from their two agencies were now working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied territories, and 651 treason and collaboration cases had been opened against law enforcement officials.

"Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state ... pose very serious questions to the relevant leaders," Zelenskiy said in a Telegram post.

Kyiv and the West say the conflict is an unprovoked attempt to reconquer a country that broke free of Moscow's rule with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Moscow calls the invasion a "special military operation" to demilitarise its neighbour and root out nationalists, says it uses high-precision weapons to degrade Ukraine's military infrastructure. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered military units to intensify operations to prevent Ukrainian strikes on areas held by Russia, according to a statement from the ministry.

His remarks on Saturday appeared to be a direct response to what Kyiv says is a string of successful strikes carried out on 30 Russian logistics and ammunitions hubs, using several multiple launch rocket systems recently supplied by the West.

The strikes are causing havoc with Russian supply lines and have significantly reduced Russia's offensive capability, according to Ukraine's defense ministry.

Ukrainian officials say the new U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) they began receiving last month allow them to reach targets in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and other areas occupied by Russia.

"Good morning from HIMARS," Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukraine's president, wrote on Telegram on Sunday alongside a video showing a large explosion which he said was another destroyed Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine.

On Sunday, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the refusal of Ukraine and NATO powers to recognise Moscow's authority over Crimea represents a "systemic threat" for Russia, which has the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet there.

A spokesperson for the Odesa regional administration, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on Telegram late on Sunday that a "significant number" of Russian warships moved from Crimea to Novorossiyisk, along Russia's Black Sea Coast.

Russian-backed separatists have said HIMARS rockets killed two civilians and damaged a bus depot and several other buildings in Alchevsk, east of Solviansk. Ukraine's armed forces said they struck the bus depot because they had information it was being used to house Russian troops.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces had destroyed a launch ramp and reloading vehicle for one of the HIMARS systems deployed near the eastern city of Pokrovsk.

The head of Pokrovsk regional police, Ruslan Osypenko, said a residential area had been shelled by Russia with multiple rocket launchers and there were dead and wounded. It released video of damaged homes and residents describing the attack.

Russia prepares for next Ukraine offensive in face of new Western weapons
 

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Comments (26)
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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Russia will loose because Ukrainians are fighting for their right to live peacefully and their own country. The russian soldiers are fighting for money and a tyrants dreams. History has taught us that tyrants will always loose in the end because they do not know when to stop until they have a bullit in the head
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Ken Roth
Ken Roth Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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Brad Albright i know Brad have also heard the russian soldiers conversation they dont want to be there but are to scared to rebel unfortunately. Some are brave enough to burn their own tanks and wound themselves to avoid being canonfeed
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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👍👍👍hope the end is near
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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Brad Albright we was all sleeping it’s Terrible 180000 russische soldiers what was we thinking about 2014 krim why only Polen sayed it will go crazy but nobody listen to them that’s crazy
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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But that’s gone we have to see forward
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 18, 2022 9:50AM ET
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Peter Andersen Yes, I remember. Even when the US started to see what was coming, few wanted to believe it. That's what we get for thinking of Russia as a law abiding civilized nation.
jason xx
jason xx Jul 18, 2022 5:37AM ET
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Russia must be destroyed at all cost
Aleksandr Rogovoy
Aleksandr Rogovoy Jul 18, 2022 12:32AM ET
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Xa-Xa. Next step is providing ballistic missiles to Ukraine.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Jul 17, 2022 11:39PM ET
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russia is quickly depleting its military resources, sending in raw recruits as cannon fodder. in 2 months they will be on the defensive, by new year they will be kicked out of Ukraine all together
Taregh Abedzadeh
Taregh Abedzadeh Jul 17, 2022 11:39PM ET
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Very wishful thinking. By December, Russia might take half of Ukraines land and call for peace. Or it might just push more forward. The more time passes the more Russia seems adamant in going all the way and taking all of Ukraine. Slowly but surely Ukraine will fall. Countries like EU and USA are not sending any military personnel but only weapons means that they arent prepared to endorse Ukraine 100%. If Ukraine is not endorsed 100% by foreign Military personnel, it will lose against the Russians.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 17, 2022 11:39PM ET
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The EU is not a country. It sounds like you don't know what you are talking about.
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 17, 2022 11:39PM ET
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Belarus and some in Middle East are helping Russia situation is difficult but hope you are right
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 17, 2022 11:39PM ET
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Taregh Abedzadeh there is a lot of valutier soldiers from eu i come from Denmark there is some too
William French
William French Jul 17, 2022 8:44PM ET
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Send Justin Trudeau to the front line so he can prove himself
Hunt Richardson
Hunt Richardson Jul 17, 2022 5:48PM ET
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zolinsky said his forces are outnumbered 10 to 1. they hit 10 Russian tanks to Ukraine's 5, but Russia has 10 more. and so on. Ukraine can't win but they will fight to the last man. will take years to resolve the conflict
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 17, 2022 5:48PM ET
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Those may be accurate at the present but may change soon. F-15s are on their way.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 17, 2022 5:48PM ET
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Ronald Regan would be crying to see how unconcerned with America's place among nations the modern GOP has become. The new American right is eager to watch other nations exert international influence while they would have the US drop out. The US is not going to drop out, and if Republicans insist, the red wave will be a piddle.
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 17, 2022 5:48PM ET
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Or Ibrahim will cry and so on
Gabe Domen
Gabe Domen Jul 17, 2022 5:45PM ET
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Also, what is the point to US to get involved in a new losing war. Plan Marshall dream... Not possible... Defending democracy... What about other democracies on the work that are a joke and Nobody does ***
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 17, 2022 5:45PM ET
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Its the Marshall Plan not the Plan Marshal. Drop and give me 50, comrade. Then go back to class.
Gabe Domen
Gabe Domen Jul 17, 2022 5:38PM ET
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Unfortunately things went wrong from the beginning. Because Ucraine wasn't Nato, Russia invaded and they were lost. Trying to save Ucraine from Russia is practically impossible or at what price(now we start knowing). Providing more ore armament; other than feeding corporations, testing armament and getting rid of the old ones; is making this war escalate to new levels. If someone sees Putin capitulation (does anybody? c'mon) keep doing the same. Otherwise, sad, will have to USE Ucraine as a sacrifice (chess) to save the queen that is European Nato and learn an important and unmistakable lesson :Russia was, is and will be the enemy. Don't get BUT BE ALWAYS READY.
John Laurens
John Laurens Jul 17, 2022 5:20PM ET
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Let’s all hope and pray for many thousands of Russian casualties. They deserve it!
Sien Huat Hii
Sien Huat Hii Jul 17, 2022 5:20PM ET
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so US started wars in other countries they also deserve to loss their life? sohai..
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 17, 2022 4:31PM ET
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Ukrain have to Start a war inside Russia together with Russian people who is against the fat chicken a civil war
 
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