Putin warns West: Russia will strike harder if longer-range missiles supplied


Kyiv was rocked by multiple explosions overnight after weeks of relative calm in Ukraine’s capital, the city’s mayor said.

At least one person was hospitalised but no deaths had been reported as of early Sunday, Vitali Klitschko said.

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said the bombardment was Russia resorting to “new insidious attacks” and hit out at French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that Moscow should not be humiliated.

It comes after Ukraine’s defence minister has said it is “possible” that the war with Russia could be over by the end of this year.

In the country’s east where the bulk of the fighting has been focused in recent weeks, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces have been pushed back in Severodonetsk.

Control of the contested factory city was now “more or less, divided in half”, he said.

Key developments:

Explosions heard in Kyiv

Posting on Telegram, Mr Klitschko said the blasts were heard in the districts of Darnytsky and Dniprovsky.

“There are currently no casualties from missile strikes on infrastructure,” he wrote.

“One injured person was hospitalised. The services are still working in the affected areas.”

The blasts follow weeks of relative calm in the city following Kremlin forces’ failure to capture Kyiv earlier in the invasion.

Fierce fighting continues in Donbas region

Meanwhile, fighting continues in the southeastern areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, the focus of the Russian army since it withdrew from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Ukrainian forces have counterattacked in the factory city of Severodonetsk and claim to have retaken territory from Russian troops.

Serhiy Haidai, Governor of Luhansk province, said on Sunday Ukrainian forces controlled about half the city after recapturing a large portion from Russian troops.

“It had been a difficult situation, the Russians controlled 70% of the city, but over the past two days they have been
pushed back,” he said on Ukrainian television.

UK MoD: Russia using proxy troops in Severodonetsk to limit military losses

Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Ukraine’s counterattack was “likely blunting the operational momentum Russian forces previously gained through concentrating combat units and firepower”.

They added that Kremlin forces in the area include “poorly equipped and trained” separatist troops lacking in heavy equipment, likely part of a desire to limit casualties suffered by the regular Russian military.

If Russia was to take Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the province of Luhansk would be under Moscow’s control, and the entire Donbas region – which includes Luhansk and Donetsk – would be within its grasp.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday night: “The situation remains very difficult in Severodonetsk, where street fighting is ongoing.”

‘We must stop Russia’

Speaking at an international security forum last week, defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said: “Russia continues to make efforts to occupy our entire state.

“It is currently impossible to predict when the war will end, but my optimistic predictions are that it will be possible to do it this year.”

Mr Reznikov warned that, until the Russians are forced out of Ukraine, other countries are also at risk, saying: “Next will be Poland, the Baltic countries, Slovakia, and others.

“That is why we must stop Russia and restrain (them) in the future.”

His warning over Russia’s ambitions came after President Macron was criticised for saying that Moscow must not be “humiliated” over the invasion of its neighbour.

In an interview with a regional newspaper, Mr Macron said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”

In response, Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.”

He added: “We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place.”

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Children with toy guns manning checkpoints, while body hunters search for dead Russian soldiers

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‘Victory will be ours’

Elsewhere this weekend, Russian shelling killed at least three civilians in the Black Sea port city of Mykolaiv, mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said.

Russian shelling and a fire contributed to the destruction of a 16th century timber Orthodox Christian monastery in eastern Ukraine, killing two monks and a nun.

And the number of bodies of civilians that have been exhumed in the Kyiv region since Russia’s military retreat now stands at more than 1,300, according to Ukraine’s interior ministry.

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