Russian attack on news from Ukraine: Rocket attack hits schools and homes in Zaporizhia; The number of war deaths increases due to the latest Russian attack

Kyiv, Ukraine — A fresh round of rocket attacks hit the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday, as the death toll from widespread Russian rocket fire in Ukraine the previous day rose to 19.

City council secretary Anatoly Kurtev said rockets hit a school, a medical facility and residential buildings in Zaporizhia. The state emergency services said 12 S-300 missiles hit public facilities and started a large fire in the area. One person was killed.

The S-300 was originally designed as a long-range surface-to-air missile. Russia has increasingly resorted to repurposed versions of the weapon to hit targets on the ground.

The morning’s airstrike warnings spread across the country, sending some residents back to shelters after months of relative calm in the capital and many other cities. That earlier lull had caused many Ukrainians to ignore the regular sirens, but Monday’s attacks gave them renewed urgency.

In addition to the usual sirens, residents of the capital Kyiv were startled early Tuesday by a new type of loud alarm sounded automatically from mobile phones. The caustic-sounding alarm was accompanied by a text warning of possible missile attacks.

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The state emergency service said 19 people died and 105 people were injured in Monday’s rocket attacks targeting critical infrastructure facilities in Kyiv and 12 other regions. More than 300 cities were without power, from the Ukrainian capital to Lviv on the border with Poland. Many of the attacks occurred far from the front lines of the war.

As Ukraine’s armed forces grow bolder after a string of battlefield successes, a cornered Kremlin is amplifying Cold War-era rhetoric and raising concerns it could widen the war and attract more combatants.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned on Tuesday that Western military aid to Kyiv, including training Ukrainian soldiers in NATO countries and sending real-time satellite data to Ukraine to attack Russian forces, is “increasingly drawing Western nations into the conflict.” sides of Kiev regime.”

Ryabkov, in a remark provided by the state news agency RIA-Novosti, said that “Russia will be forced to take appropriate countermeasures, including asymmetric ones.” He said that although Russia is “not interested” in a direct clash” with the US and NATO, “we hope that Washington and other Western capitals are aware of the danger of an uncontrollable escalation”.

Ryabkov’s warning follows Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s announcement that he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to form a joint “regional grouping of troops” to thwart a possible Ukrainian attack on Belarus that Lukashenko has claimed.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s army said on Tuesday it had seen no evidence of troop movements or offensive force build-up in Belarus, but warned that Russia could continue to launch missile attacks on “peaceful neighborhoods” and critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

ALSO SEE | Ukraine: Russian attacks kill at least 12 after bridge blast

“The enemy is unable to stop the successful counter-offensive of the Defense Forces in the direction of Kharkiv and Kherson, so they are trying to intimidate the people of Ukraine and sow panic,” the military general staff said.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it was unlikely a joint Russian-Belarusian force would launch an attack on Ukraine from the north.

Analysts at the think tank said that the Russian component of such a force “would likely consist of mobilized men or low-readiness conscripts who are unlikely to pose a significant conventional military threat to Ukraine.”

One use for the joint force could be to pin down some Ukrainian troops near Kyiv to defend the capital and prevent them from being deployed to more active fronts where they can advance their counteroffensive, the institute said.

Although Ukrainian officials said Russia’s rocket attacks on Monday had no “practical military sense,” Putin said the “precision weapons” attack was in retaliation for what he described as “terrorist” actions by Kyiv — a reference to Ukraine’s attempts to repel Moscow’s invasion, including an attack on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed peninsula of Crimea on Saturday. Putin claimed the bridge attack was directed by Ukrainian special services.

Putin promised a “tough” and “appropriate” response should further Ukrainian attacks threaten Russia’s security. “No one should doubt that,” he told the Russian Security Council via video.

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Putin’s increasingly frequent descriptions of Ukraine’s actions as terrorists may portend even bolder and more draconian actions. But in Monday’s speech, Putin – whose partial troop mobilization order sparked an exodus of hundreds of thousands of military-age men last month – kept Putin from expanding his “military special operation” into a counter-terrorism or martial law campaign.

That didn’t stop the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament Tuesday from comparing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He also said that Western politicians who support Ukraine “are effectively promoting terrorism” and that “there can be no talks with terrorists.”

Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on world leaders to declare Russia a terrorist state over its attacks on civilians and alleged war crimes.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Russian attack on news from Ukraine: Rocket attack hits schools and homes in Zaporizhia; The number of war deaths increases due to the latest Russian attack

Laura Coffey

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