It raises the tone of its threat to the allied countries that help Ukraine. Your convoys will be considered “legitimate targets”
Kiev’s calls for the West to help with weapons and the creation of a no-fly zone over Ukraine were met on Saturday with a serious warning from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Riabkov warned that any shipment of weapons from NATO countries will be considered a “legitimate target” of Russian aviation and artillery. And so he would have transferred it to Washington. “We have put them on notice that their operation to supply arms to Ukraine is not only a dangerous decision but a move that turns the corresponding convoys into legitimate targets.” The threat from the Kremlin is limited in particular to portable anti-aircraft missile systems of the Stinger type or Javelin anti-tank missiles, which are already being used by Ukrainian troops.
The message was conveyed on a day in which war activity intensified, new humanitarian corridors were threatened and the world once again held its breath before the imminent assault on Kiev. It began with shelling on Mykolaiv, where a cancer hospital was hit by shells. For the second consecutive day, the bombs also fell on Dnipro while, fifty kilometers southwest of the country’s capital, the Vasylkiv airfield and fuel depots were totally destroyed, causing a huge explosion, according to its mayor, Natalia Balasinovich.
Russian air and artillery attacks once again hit the towns of Irpin and Busha, on the northwestern outskirts of Kiev, which is literally surrounded by Russian troops.
But it is still the port city of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, that has been hit the hardest by fire from its batteries and from the Donets rebels. And the point of the country that raises the most concern. Its inhabitants remain incommunicado, deprived of water, gas and electricity. According to the authorities, there is hardly any food left and the lack of medicines is even causing the death of people with chronic diseases. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) describes the situation as “desperate”.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba updated the number of civilians killed in this port city: 1,582 in twelve days “buried in mass graves,” he said. At the time it was recognized that “the occupiers have already taken over the neighborhoods on the eastern outskirts of Mariupol.” The confusion came mid-morning, when the authorities spoke of an attack on the mosque of Sultan Solimán, where there were 80 refugee civilians. Hours later it was confirmed that although the neighborhood was attacked, the fire did not directly hit the mosque. A bomb fell 700 meters from the temple.
The inhabitants of Mariúpol expected to receive the first humanitarian aid this Saturday: 90 tons of food and medicine traveled from Zaporizhia. The Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Irina Vereshuk, assured that new humanitarian corridors had been opened to evict civilians. Almost all drive to Kiev or adjacent areas.
The town of Volnóvaja, north of Mariúpol, is already in the hands of the Donetsk separatist rebels, but it has been “completely destroyed and empty”, as all its inhabitants have been evacuated. The pro-Russians in Lugansk are now trying to take over Severodonetsk, northeast of Donetsk, and the leaders of this area still under Kiev control point out that 70% of the Lugansk province has already passed into the hands of the separatists.
“Groups of Deserters”
Despite all these losses of ground, the Ukrainian Army General Staff maintains that the Russian forces “lose combat capacity (…) Ukraine is managing to stop the invasion” and “groups of Russian deserters” are observed. For its part, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported through Telegram that “near Odessa, about 600 Russian sailors have rebelled and refused to disembark because they understood what was happening.”
Meanwhile, Iván Fiódorov, mayor of Melitopol, the scene of continuous protests by the local population against the Russian troops occupying the city, is still missing. Several armed men took him to an unknown address on Friday and his whereabouts are still unknown. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, believes that he is still alive, but that “he is being tortured for refusing to collaborate with the occupiers.”
Zelenski – who confirmed for the first time the death of at least 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of the conflict – even asked his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to pressure Russia to release Fyodorov. .
The Ukrainian political scientist and expert on military issues, Yuri Butúsov, believes that “the war will continue for a long time (…) we must prepare for a long resistance.” In his view, “Putin is now measuring how much territory he can occupy depending on the resistance he encounters.” “As long as he remains in power in Russia we will always be threatened,” says Butúsov.
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