Bombings and bloody armed clashes continue to torment the Ukraine invaded by Putin’s troops. 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 battle of this terrible war has been fought for months.
Kiev says its military is catching up in the area. But Moscow denies it. “Our soldiers are advancing in some areas of the front and the enemy is losing equipment and men,” said Ukrainian general Oleksandr Syrsky. While British intelligence claims that in the last four days the Russian military have withdrawn in a disorderly way from some positions on the southern flank of Bakhmut allowing the Ukrainian troops to gain “at least a kilometre”. However, neither Syrsky’s nor London’s statements can be independently verified. And neither are those of the Russian Defense Ministry, which yesterday claimed to have repelled all attacks by Ukrainian soldiers along a 95-kilometre front. However, Moscow also said it had moved some of its soldiers towards Maloilyinovka to have a more advantageous line of defense: a move that according to several analysts would actually amount to a retreat.
Meanwhile, it remains a mystery what happened today in the skies of the Russian region of Bryansk. According to some Russian media, including the Kommersant newspaper, two Mi-8 helicopters and two Su-34 and Su-35 fighters “may have been shot down” in this oblast not far from the border with Ukraine. T – the official Russian news agency – reports that a jet and a helicopter would have crashed, but does not specify why and for now there is no confirmation from either Moscow or Kiev. The governor of the Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, only confirmed the crash of a helicopter near the small town of Klintsy. According to Kommersant, the Russian aircraft may have been shot down as they were preparing to launch an attack in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine and the military crews may have died. However, this is always news that cannot be verified at the moment.
Ukraine for its part accuses Russia of a new drone attack in the night. A new raid in which dozens of civilians were injured. The Ukrainian anti-aircraft guns say they have shot down “17 of the 21 drones launched by Russian troops”, but the local authorities still report the wounding of almost 30 people in Khmelnitsky (none would be in danger of life according to the mayor) and three others in Mykolaiv. Five other civilians were also reportedly injured in other bombings in Kharkiv oblast.
Meanwhile, Berlin has 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 several analysts expect a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive in the near future. “We need ammunition and long-range missiles,” said the head of Kiev’s diplomacy. Among the main objectives of the Ukrainian government there are always the American F16s, so far denied by Washington. 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 the sending of long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Kiev, and today Russia accused Ukraine of having hit two industrial sites in Lugansk, in the Donb occupied by Russian troops, with these rockets. Even this statement is currently unverifiable.