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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ukraine trains its sights on Russian border area, looking for to fire up discontent

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The Russian army mentioned Wednesday it shot down 12 Ukrainian missiles over Russia’s southern Belgorod area bordering Ukraine, as Kyiv’s forces search to embarrass Russian President Vladimir Putin and puncture his argument that life in Russia is happening as regular regardless of the 22-month struggle.

Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov mentioned the state of affairs within the regional capital, additionally referred to as Belgorod, “stays tense.” Town got here underneath two rounds of shelling Wednesday morning, Gladkov wrote on Telegram.

“Air protection techniques labored,” he mentioned, promising extra particulars about doable injury after inspecting the world later within the day. Wednesday was a nationwide vacation in Russia.

Russia’s Protection Ministry mentioned Ukraine fired two Tochka-U missiles and 7 rockets on the area late Tuesday, then launched six Tochka-U missiles and 6 Vilkha rockets on Wednesday morning.

The Soviet-built Tochka-U tactical missile system has a variety of as much as 120 kilometers (75 miles). It has an enormous warhead that may carry cluster munitions. Ukraine has acquired some cluster munitions from america however Tochka-U and Vilkha can use their very own cluster munitions.

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The Russian facet of the border with Ukraine has come underneath more and more frequent assault in latest days. Throughout the struggle, Russian border villages have sporadically been focused by Ukrainian artillery hearth, rockets, mortar shells and drones launched from thick forests the place they’re laborious to detect.

Recently, as missiles and drones have fallen on Ukrainian cities, Kyiv’s troops have aimed on the Belgorod regional capital, which lies roughly 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis.

Belgorod, which has a inhabitants of round 340,000 individuals, is the most important Russian metropolis near the Ukrainian border. It may be reached by comparatively easy and movable weapons reminiscent of a number of rocket launchers.

On Saturday, shelling of Belgorod killed 25 individuals, together with 5 kids, making it one of many deadliest on Russian soil since Moscow’s full-scale invasion. A civilian was additionally killed Tuesday in a brand new rocket salvo.

Hitting Belgorod and disrupting metropolis life is a dramatic method for Ukraine to indicate it will probably strike again towards Russia, which in army phrases outnumbers and outguns Kyiv’s forces.

The tactic gave the impression to be having some success, with indicators the assaults are unsettling the general public, political leaders and army observers.

Putin on Monday lashed out towards the Belgorod assaults. “They need to intimidate us and create uncertainty inside our nation,” he mentioned, promising to step up retaliatory strikes.

Answering a query from a soldier who requested him about civilian casualties in Belgorod, Putin mentioned that “I additionally really feel a simmering anger.”

Many Russian army bloggers have expressed remorse about Russia’s withdrawal from the border space in September 2022 within the wake of a swift Ukrainian counteroffensive, and have argued that Russia must seize extra territory to safe Belgorod and different border areas.

The Russian authorities has tried to counter the profitable strikes by describing the Ukrainians as “terrorists” who’re indiscriminately focusing on residential areas whereas insisting the Russian army solely goals at depots, arms factories and different army services.

Ukrainian officers hardly ever acknowledge accountability for strikes on Russian territory.


Comply with AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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