KYIV (Reuters) – Russia that its forces launched a night raid on a Ukrainian air base, while Ukrainian forces shelled industrial facilities in Russia, while Kyivv launched a decisive counterattack.
Ukraine has unusually acknowledged the damage to military “targets”, saying runway repair work was underway and grounding five aircraft in the western Khmelnytsky region, without naming the location or site. I didn’t.
Before the war, the area had a large military airfield.
“Currently, work to contain the fire at the fuel, lubricants and ammunition storage facility continues,” said the Khmelnytsky Regional Governor’s Office.
Russian state news agency RIA, citing the defense ministry, said several air bases had been hit, but there was no confirmation from Ukraine of damage to other air bases. The Ukrainian capital has been attacked for the 16th time this month after being bombed for two nights in a row. But officials said most of the drones and missiles launched at night were shot down and no targets were hit in the morning.
The attack, which prompted Kiev residents to seek refuge in a metro station, is part of a new Russian airstrike this month, while Ukraine armed with new Western weaponry prepares to strike back from Russia to take back territory.
“With these constant attacks, the enemy is trying to put the civilian population into a state of deep psychological tension,” said the city’s military chief, Serhiy Popko.
The Russian government said it had invaded to “de-Nazi” the neighboring country and protect Russian-speaking people. Western opponents dismiss the invasion as an imperialist land grab that killed tens of thousands, exterminated millions, and reduced entire cities to rubble.
Russia has repeatedly said it is ready to resume peace talks with Kiev, which stalled months after Russia’s invasion, and has welcomed mediation efforts by both Brazil and China.
An aide to the Ukrainian president said on Monday that the post-war process should include a 100-120 km (62-75 mi) demilitarized zone inside Russia along the Ukrainian border.
Presidential Advisor Mikhaylo Podoljak wrote on Twitter that the zone was necessary to protect the Ukrainian region from artillery fire.
The Ukrainian military said the attack on the Odessa port had caused fires and damaged infrastructure, but did not say whether the damage would threaten grain exports.
The country is a major grain supplier to the world, and ports are essential for transporting agricultural products abroad. It is also one of three agreements included in the UN-brokered agreement on the safe export of grain across the Black Sea.
Russia announced on Monday that the Black Sea grain deal will no longer enter into force unless a UN agreement with Moscow to overcome obstacles to Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports is implemented.
This month Moscow reluctantly agreed to extend the grain deal until 17 July.
After months of attacks on energy facilities, Kiev said Russia is now attacking military installations and supplies with the aim of disrupting Ukraine’s counterstrike preparations.
The Russian government has said it is stepping up drone strikes and sabotage against targets inside Russia as Ukraine prepares to attack. The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said several border settlements were simultaneously shelled by Ukrainian forces on Monday. In the city of Shevekino, two factories were damaged and four workers were injured, Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote in a telegram.
Ukraine was not immediately available for comment, and Reuters was unable to independently verify reports about the scale of attacks by both sides.
Ukraine said it had shot down 29 of 35 drones and 37 of 40 cruise missiles launched by Russia overnight, and the Kiev junta said it had shot down “targets” fired at Ukraine. More than 40 of them were shot down by air defense forces.
“It’s another tough night for the capital,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a telegram. The attack followed the previous night’s attack, the largest ever drone bombardment of Kiev, killing one person and wounding several others. Sunday’s attack shot down 36 drones over the city.