Russia fires missiles in Ukraine after Kyiv secures tanks

KIEV—Russia fires missiles into Ukraine, killing at least one person. The day after Kyiv secured the Western pledge of dozens of modern battlefield tanks to try to push back the Russian aggression.

Moscow was outraged by the German and American announcements.

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine as people went to work. In the capital, crowds hid in subway stations for some time.

Kyiv city officials said a 55-year-old man had died and two others were injured. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said substations were damaged as Russia continued to target energy facilities.

The Kremlin said it believed the promised delivery of Western tanks was evidence of a growing “direct involvement” between the United States and Europe in the conflict 11 months ago. are both denied.

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy producer, said it was implementing preemptive emergency shutdowns in Kyiv, surrounding areas, as well as the Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

On Wednesday, Russian missiles damaged an energy facility in Odessa, where the Black Sea port was named an “endangered World Heritage Site” by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO, just as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna arrived. officials said.

Colonna was scheduled to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kleva, to discuss humanitarian and military aid.

Both Moscow and Kyiv, which have so far relied on Soviet-era T-72 tanks, are expected to launch new ground attacks in the spring.

Ukraine has sought hundreds of modern tanks in hopes of using them to break through Russia’s defensive lines and retake its controlled areas in the south and east.

“Now the key is speed and quantity. Speed ​​to train our troops, speed to supply Ukraine with tanks. Numbers of tank support,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Wednesday.

Zelensky said he kept the drum of Kyiv’s demands, speaking with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, demanding long-range missiles and aircraft.

Ukraine’s allies have already provided billions of dollars in military aid, including advanced US missile systems.

The United States was wary of deploying the difficult-to-maintain M1 Abrams tank, but eventually persuaded the 31 to offer the more operational German Leopard.

Germany will initially send 14 tanks from stock, approve shipments from its European allies, and eventually aim to equip two battalions (about 100 vehicles).

The Leopard should be operational in three to four months, and Britain said on Thursday it expected 14 Challenger tanks to be sent to Ukraine within two months.

But analysts say Ukrainian commanders may already be reluctant to deploy the tanks they own because they know replacements are coming.

Leopard is a system that can be used by any NATO member state, allowing crew members and mechanics to be trained together, Ukrainian military expert Viktor Kevlyuk told Espreso TV.

ukrainian tank
A Spanish tank Leopard 2 of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group fires during the final phase of the Silver Arrow 2022 military exercise at the Adazi military training ground in Latvia on September 29, 2022. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

Battle in Eastern Ukraine

Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and secretary of his Security Council, was quoted as saying: Against Russia and its allies. “

Bakhmut, a town in eastern Ukraine with a pre-war population of 70,000, has seen some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.

The Ukrainian military said Russia was attacking “with the aim of occupying the entire Donetsk region irrespective of its own casualties”.

The governor of Russia-installed Donetsk said on Wednesday that units of the Russian Wagner-contracted militia were advancing inside Bakhmut, fighting in the suburbs and recently-occupied neighborhoods of Ukraine.

But the U.S.-based nonprofit War Research Institute said attacks on Bakhmut appeared to have stalled as Russia turned its conventional forces northward in an attempt to complete the occupation of Ukraine’s Luhansk province.