Russia affirmed that this delivery of heavy equipment supposes the “direct implication” of the Western powers in the conflictand intensified its offensive in several areas of the Donetsk region (east).
“Eleven people were injured and, unfortunately, eleven others died,” the rescuers’ spokesman, Oleksander Jorunejy, said on Ukrainian television, specifying that the most significant damage occurred in the kyiv region.
According to the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, Russia fired 55 missiles on Thursday, of which “47 were destroyed, 20 of them” in the vicinity of kyiv.
Also, at night 24 drones were shot down Iranian-made Shahed, according to Ukrainian forces.
Attacks spread across 11 regions and in addition to causing fatalities also they damaged 35 buildingssaid a spokesman for the State Emergency Service.
kyiv and other regions proceeded with “emergency” power cuts to “avoid major damage to power infrastructure,” private power operator DTEK reported.
Russia is trying to cause “a systemic breakdown” in the national grid, said Energy Minister German Galushchenko.
“The situation is still under control,” said Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.
In the Odessa region (southwest), power was restored after noon in hospitals and “other essential infrastructures,” DTEK announced.
The bombardments near that city occurred shortly before the arrival of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
After several military setbacks in the middle of last year, the Kremlin changed tack and in October began attacking Ukraine’s transformers and power plants.
Since then, blackouts have multiplied, leaving millions of Ukrainian civilians without drinking water or heating in the dead of winter.
The new massive Russian bombardment occurred the day after The United States and Germany will authorize the shipment to Ukraine of dozens of combat vehicles heavy, an unprecedented decision in the 11 months of war.
Germany plans to deliver Leopard 2 tanks “At the end of March, beginning of April,” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Thursday.
Also at the end of March, the United Kingdom plans to hand over to Ukraine its challenger tanks 2.
For its part, Canada will deliver four Leopard 2 tanks to kyiv in the coming weeks, which are “combat-ready,” Defense Minister Anita Anand announced Thursday.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said that the arrival of heavy tanks will be “an important step on the road to victory.”
“The key now is speed and volume” in delivering the tanks, Zelensky said Wednesday night.
The president also demanded combat planes and long-range missiles, weapons that Western countries are currently unwilling to hand over for fear of provoking a military escalation in the event of incursions into Russian territory.
For the Kremlin, the delivery of the heavy tanks already constitutes a “direct implication” of the western countries in the war, affirmed the spokesman of the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov.
Instead, French diplomacy claimed that “the supply of military equipment” is part of Ukraine’s “exercise of legitimate defense” and does not make those who practice it belligerent.
“We are not at war with Russia and neither are any of our partners,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said.
Attacks intensify in eastern Ukraine
The Russian troops, superior in number of troops and material, fighting in the east “intensifies”Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar said on Wednesday.
Moscow has been trying to conquer Bakhmut for several months and recently tightened the siege of Vugledar, a town southwest of Donetsk.
Ukrainian forces admitted on Wednesday that they had withdrawn from Soledar, northeast of Bakhmut, now in Russian hands.
According to a Ukrainian sergeant, whose nom de guerre is “Alkor,” “the battle was hard.”
“We are still shooting, we continue and continue, but after five minutes a new wave of 20 enemies arrives,” the military explained. They arrive in “huge numbers. They use their soldiers as cannon fodder.”