Bombings and bloody armed clashes continued to torment Putin’s conquered Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities accuse Russian soldiers of opening fire on the town of Kostyantynivka, killing at least two people, including a 15-year-old girl, and wounding ten others, including two teenagers. Kostyantynivka is located just 25 kilometers from Bakhmut, where the bloodiest battles of this terrible war have been fought for months.
Kiev says its army is catching up in the region. But Moscow denies this. “Our soldiers are advancing in some areas of the front, and the enemy is losing equipment and men,” Ukrainian General Oleksandr Sersky said. While British intelligence claims that in the past four days the Russian army has withdrawn in a disorderly manner from some positions on the southern side of Bakhmut allowing Ukrainian forces to gain “at least one kilometer”. However, neither Sirsky nor London’s statements could be independently verified. So is the Russian Defense Ministry, which claimed yesterday that it had repulsed all attacks by Ukrainian soldiers along a 95-kilometer front. However, Moscow also said it had moved some of its soldiers towards Maloilyinovka for a more advantageous line of defence: a move that, according to many analysts, would actually be a step back.
Meanwhile, what happened today in the skies over the Bryansk region of Russia remains a mystery. And according to some Russian media outlets, including Kommersant, two Mi-8 helicopters and two Su-34 and Su-35 fighters were “probably shot down” in this area not far from the border with Ukraine. Russia’s state news agency Tass reported that a plane and a helicopter had crashed, but did not specify the cause, and there is still no confirmation from Moscow or Kiev. And the governor of the Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, confirmed the helicopter crash near the small town of Klintsy. According to Kommersant, the Russian plane may have been shot down while preparing to launch an attack in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine and the military crews may have died. However, this is always unverifiable news at the moment.
Ukraine, for its part, accuses Russia of launching a new drone attack at night. A new raid in which dozens of civilians were injured. Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners say they have shot down “17 of 21 drones launched by Russian forces,” but local authorities are still reporting close to 30 people injured in Khmelnytskyi (there would be no danger to life according to the mayor) and three more in Mykolaiv. Five other civilians were reportedly injured in further bombings in the Kharkiv region.
Meanwhile, Berlin promised Kiev new weapons for 2.7 billion euros: this would be the largest package of military supplies sent by Germany to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion. However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba is pressing for more weapons while many analysts are predicting a possible Ukrainian counterattack in the near future. The head of diplomacy in Kiev said: “We need ammunition and long-range missiles.” Among the main targets of the Ukrainian government, there are always the American F16s, which Washington has so far denied. Kuleba said he spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and “gave a lot of attention to the importance of providing Ukraine with F-16s”.
A few days ago, London announced that it had sent long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Kiev, and Russia today accused Ukraine of hitting two industrial sites in Luhansk, in the Donbass region occupied by Russian forces, with these missiles. Even this statement is currently unverifiable.
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