Moscow/Kyiv, Jun 5 (EFE).- Russia once again on Sunday directly attacked Kyiv and its environs, the first missile attack on the Ukrainian capital in more than a month and coming after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to hit new targets if Ukraine receives long-range missiles from the US and other Western nations.
Kyiv had not been the target of Russian attacks since April 28, when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres traveled to the Ukrainian capital to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
About 0300 GMT, Russia fired five X-22 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea toward Kyiv, the Ukrainian Military Command reported.
One of the missiles, launched from Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers – according to the Ukrainian Air Force – was intercepted over the Obukhov district but the other four hit infrastructure in the northern part of Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that in the area near Kyiv it had destroyed T-72 tanks and other armored vehicles supplied to Ukraine by other East European nations, adding that the vehicles were at a railroad car repair facility.
“High-precision, long-range missiles fired by the Russian Aerospace Forces on the outskirts of Kyiv destroyed T-72 tanks supplied by eastern European countries and other armored vehicles that were in hangars,” the ministry said.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that explosions had occurred in the Darnytsia and Dniprovskiy districts. One person was reported to be hospitalized after the blasts.
In addition, Russian forces fired missiles at the town of Brovary, in the Kyiv region, according to Mayor Ihor Sapozhko.
The attack came after the warning Putin gave to Kyiv and the West in a prerecorded interview aired on Russian television.
The Kremlin chief said that the Russian military will attack sites that up to now it had not targeted if the West supplies long-range missiles to Ukraine.
“If they come to supply them, we will draw the appropriate conclusions and we will use our weapons, of which we have plenty, to attack those targets that up to now we have not hit,” he said.
Putin made his remarks after the White House announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine valued at $700 million which included HIMARS multiple missile launchers with a range of up to 70 kilometers (43 miles).
The US made the decision to supply the missile launchers after Zelenskyy promised not to fire any missiles into Russian territory, a move that the US would consider to be potentially escalatory.
Putin said that the US decision will not fundamentally change the balance of forces on the ground, given that the weaponry from the US and other nations is being supplied to replace war materiel lost so far by Ukraine during the hostilities.
“There’s nothing new here. In the first place, the Ukrainian army already had these multiple-launch missile systems: it has the Soviet Grad, Smerch, Uragan (missiles), of similar Russian manufacture,” cable of striking targets between 45 and 70 km (28 and 43 mi.) away, he said.
Putin said that, in general, “all that uproar around the supply of additional weapons (to Ukraine) is for a single objective: prolonging the armed conflict as much as possible.”
Since it withdrew from northern Ukraine after its army was halted in its tracks by the Ukrainian defense, Russia has sporadically mounted missile attacks on the capital, along with other cities like Lviv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharhiv, despite concentrating virtually all of its ground-based efforts on taking territory in the eastern Donbas region.
There, on Sunday fighting continued in and around Severodonetsk and the neighboring city of Lisichansk, the last two large cities still under Ukrainian control in the Lugansk region.
In Severodonetsk, Russian forces control the eastern part of the city, the General Staff said Sunday.
After occupying 70 percent of the city, Ukrainian troops “in two days” have recovered about 20 percent of the urban area and now it is “divided in two” and a true war of attrition is under way there, according to regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai.