Lviv, Ukraine, Oct 13 (EFE).- Russian bombs struck the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Zaporizhizhia on Thursday, as the Ukrainian army continued to advance into Kherson and Lugansk, territory previously held by Russia.
The two regions were part of Ukrainian territory illegally annexed by the Kremlin after sham referendums last month despite Moscow not entirely controlling the area, where Russian troops have suffered multiple setbacks and been forced to retreat in recent weeks.
Russia has intensified its shelling of both civilian and military targets across Ukraine in the wake of the partial destruction of a major bridge linking the Crimean peninsula – which Moscow annexed in 2014 – to Russia.
The outskirts of Kyiv was hit with new attacks using Iranian-made drones, according to regional authorities in the Ukrainian capital, where anti-aircraft sirens were activated for the fourth consecutive morning.
The attacks were carried out with so-called Iranian-made Kamikaze drones which Russian forces have been using with increased intensity and frequency in recent days following the attack on the Crimea bridge.
The Ukrainian capital was hit with a barrage of shells on Monday, triggering air raid sirens for the first time in months.
At least 19 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded across Ukraine in Russian shelling on Monday.
The attacks have continued in the days since, although with less severity, in central and western regions, while the Ukrainian emergency services have placed the whole country on high alert.
Recent Russian missile attacks have lost virulence compared to those in the early days of the invasion last February, Viktor Kevliuk, a military expert at the Ukrainian Center for Defense Strategies, told Efe.
“Their reserves have dropped. The Russians are no longer capable of generating as when they were launching hundreds of missiles a day,” he said, adding that the airstrikes were having little to no effect on the situation on the front lines.
Ukraine, on the other hand, has continued to inflict heavy losses on Russian troops. The Ukrainian military command says the number of casualties among Russian soldiers amounted to 420 in the last 24 hours.
About 150 of them were killed in artillery attacks in the village of Tokarivka, on the banks of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, according to the latest report of the Ukrainian Army General Staff.
Ukraine continues to attack across the Dnieper, while the Russian army is trying to maintain supplies to the 15,000 to 20,000 troops it has deployed on the western bank of the river despite two key bridges being damaged.
In Lugansk, the head of the regional military administration, Sergiy Gaidai, confirmed that seven villages previously occupied by Russian forces had been liberated by Ukrainian troops.
In addition to targeting key energy and critical infrastructure, Russia continues to shell cities within range of its S-300 and multiple rocket launcher systems, such as Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, where at least two civilians were killed after the partial collapse of a residential building last night.
Russian shelling of Zaporizhzhia and its surroundings has also intensified in recent weeks, with “more than 70 people” being killed in the past fortnight in the city, which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear plant, the head of the regional military administration, Oleksandr Starukh, said.
“The logic behind the attacks on Zaporizhzhia is difficult to understand. It could be interpreted as the Russians killing their own citizens, in the region they have formally annexed,” Kevliuk told Efe.
The analyst believes that Russia is looking for an area where it can make at least some military progress to showcase domestically, amid growing frustration and impatience after the retreats in Kherson and Kharkiv. EFE