Kyiv – Ukrainian and British officials warned on Saturday that Russian forces were relying on weapons with the potential to cause mass casualties as they tried to make progress in capturing eastern Ukraine.
Russian bombers may have fired heavy anti-ship missiles at Ukraine in the 1960s, the UK Ministry of Defense said. The X-22 missiles are designed primarily to destroy nuclear warhead aircraft carriers. When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, they are “very inaccurate and can therefore cause serious collateral damage and casualties,” the ministry said.
Both sides spent large quantities of weapons in what turned into a war of depletion of the eastern region of coal mines and factories, known as Donbass, putting enormous pressure on their resources and reserves.
Russia is probably using anti-ship missiles because it lacks more precise modern missiles, the British ministry said in a daily update. He did not give details of exactly where such missiles are believed to be located, and there was no immediate confirmation from Ukrainian authorities about the use of 5.5-ton (6.1-ton) missiles.
GOVERNOR: USED FLAMMERS IN LUHANSK
A Ukrainian regional governor has accused Russia of using incendiary weapons in the village of Vrubivka in Ukraine’s eastern province of Luhansk, southwest of the fiercely contested cities of Severodonetsk and Lisichansk.
While the use of flamethrowers on the battlefield is legal, Sergei Haidai, the governor of Luhansk province, says the night’s attacks have caused widespread damage to civilian equipment.
“Information is being clarified about the number of victims in Vrubivka, in the Popasnyanska district. At night, the enemy used a missile system with a flamethrower – many houses burned down, “Haidai wrote in the Telegram on Saturday morning.
He also said Russian forces were continuing their attack on Severodonetsk, destroying critical industrial facilities, including railway depots, a brick factory and a glass factory in neighboring Lisichansk.
“(The Russians) are destroying world-famous factories. “Thousands of Severodonetsk residents dream of returning and passing through the first checkpoint at the Nitrogen (chemical plant), but the enemy is destroying both the city itself and the chemical industry,” he said.
The accuracy of Haidai’s allegations cannot be verified immediately.
EUROPEAN UNION LEADER RETURNS TO Kyiv
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
Von der Layen said on Twitter that “they will take stock of the joint work needed for reconstruction and the progress made by Ukraine on its European path.”
The European Commission, the EU’s executive, is expected to deliver an opinion next week on Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status, a first step on the long road to membership.
Von der Leyen is making her second visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded her neighbor. She was one of the first European leaders to go to Ukraine during the war.
DEATH FOR CHILDREN
Nearly 800 children have been killed or injured in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian authorities said on Saturday.
According to a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, at least 287 children died as a result of hostilities and at least 492 were injured. The statement stressed that the figures were not final and said they were based on investigations by juvenile prosecutors.
The officer said children in the Ukrainian province of Donetsk, which together with Luhansk makes up Donbass, had suffered the most, with 217 killed or injured, compared with 132 and 116 in the Kharkiv and Kyiv regions, respectively.
RUSSIA PRESSES EASTERN OFFENSIVE
The Ukrainian army said on Saturday that Russian forces were regrouping to launch an offensive against the city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region.
Moscow-backed rebels have controlled the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014, and Russia is trying to seize territory still under Ukrainian control.
In its regular operational update, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russian soldiers had managed to establish themselves overnight in the village of Bogorodichno, 24 kilometers (about 15 miles) northwest of Slavyansk, and were preparing to attack the city.
Donetsk regional police say Russian missiles hit 13 towns and villages in the province during the night. In a statement, police said civilians were killed and wounded, without specifying the number. Donetsk and Luhansk make up Donbass,
The update of the Ukrainian army says that the threat of missile and air strikes on Ukraine from Belarus remains, noting that the Belarusian government has extended military exercises on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border until June 18.
RUSSIAN SHOOTING IN KHARKIV
Four civilians were killed and two were injured in a Russian shelling of northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Friday, regional emergency services said on Saturday.
According to the press service of the Main Directorate of the State Emergency Service in the Kharkiv region, a Russian shell destroyed a private house in the town of Chkalovsk, killing four people. Two others were injured in a “massive shelling” of private homes in Derhachi, on the outskirts of the regional capital Kharkiv, the statement said.
The Kharkiv region, home to Ukraine’s second largest city, is north of Donbass.
Elsewhere, the governor of Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region said two civilians were injured in a Russian shelling Friday night. Valentin Reznichenko said in a Telegram publication that the two had been hospitalized.
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Russia says it is using more deadly weapons in war
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