Russia-Ukraine conflict International

Russia pounds Ukraine, targeting supply of Western arms

Smoke rises above a burning oil storage in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of Donetsk, Ukraine May 4, 2022.

Smoke rises above a burning oil storage in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of Donetsk, Ukraine May 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Russian forces pounded targets across Ukraine, taking aim at supply lines for foreign weapons in the west and intensifying an offensive in the east, as the European Union moved Wednesday to further punish Moscow for the war with a proposed ban on oil imports.

The Russian military said Wednesday it used sea- and air-launched precision guided missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine, while artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.

The defense minister repeated that Russian forces have blocked off a steel mill in Mariupol from which scores of civilians were evacuated over the weekend. Another official denied they were storming the plant, as its defenders said a day earlier.

Ukrainian authorities, meanwhile, said attacks in the eastern Donbas region left 21 civilians dead.

The flurry of attacks over the past day comes as Russia prepares to celebrate Victory Day on May 9, marking the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. This year the world is watching for whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will use the occasion to declare a limited victory — or expand what he calls a “special military operation” to a wider war.

A declaration of all-out war would allow Mr. Putin to introduce martial law and mobilize reservists to replace what Western officials say have been significant troop losses.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday dismissed the speculation as “untrue” and “nonsense.”

As areas across Ukraine came under renewed attack, Belarus, which Russia used as a staging ground for its invasion, announced military drills. The Defense Ministry in Minsk said the exercises that began Wednesday don’t threaten any neighbors but a top Ukrainian official the country will be ready to act if Belarus joins the fighting.

While the Russian attacks were across a wide swath of Ukraine, some were concentrated in and around Lviv, the western city close to the Polish border that has been a gateway for NATO-supplied weapons.

Explosions were heard late Tuesday in the city, which has seen only sporadic attacks during the war and has become a haven for civilians fleeing the fighting elsewhere. The mayor said the strikes damaged three power substations, knocking out electricity in parts of the city and disrupting the water supply. Two people were wounded.

The attacks on rail infrastructure were meant to disrupt the delivery of Western weapons, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, while his boss, Minister Sergei Shoigu, told top military brass that the West was “stuffing Ukraine with weapons.”


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 9:07:11 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-pounds-ukraine-targeting-supply-of-western-arms/article65381848.ece