Telegram channels reported yesterday’s explosions in Sevastopol and the surrounding areas of the city, in Crimea, and Ukrainian media re-released it. According to Radio Svoboda, yesterday evening, other explosions took place near the Belbek military airport, also in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia unilaterally. Even Simferopol residents wrote on social networks that they heard explosions near Belbek Airport.
The head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, Valentin Reznichenko, said that the Russian military repeatedly bombed residential neighborhoods in Nikopol, a city in eastern Ukraine opposite Zaporizhye, during the night. “There was a lot of enemy shelling in the Nikopol area last night. The Russians hit the center of the area with heavy artillery,” he said. In addition to homes, a gas pipeline and power grid were damaged. Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army announced that it had repulsed attacks by Russian forces near 10 settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk on the last day.
Andriy Chernyak, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, said the Russian army will lose up to 70,000 men in the next 4-5 months, but the Kremlin appears to be “ready” to deal with these losses. Russia will likely continue offensive operations this year, Chernyak said, adding that the Russians “understand that they will lose” on the battlefield, but have no intention of ending the war. The spokesman added that the Ukrainian intelligence service is “sure” that Moscow will continue to try to control the Donetsk region and will do everything possible to maintain its land corridor on the southern coast towards occupied Crimea. Meanwhile, senior Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia could launch a major offensive from multiple directions as early as this year. Chernyak said that Russian forces “could attack simultaneously from the north and east,” but that “these hostile actions are expected and our forces are ready.” Russia’s battlefield achievements remain limited, notes the Kyiv Independent, although the fighting has been particularly hard in the country’s east and south. Russian forces have been forced to withdraw from 40 percent of the Ukrainian territory they occupied at the start of the invasion in February.
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