Russia ramps up missile strikes to slow Ukraine counterattack

Russia is ramping up missile attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, blowing up reservoir dams and generators in an operation described by Kyiv as an “act of terror” to slow down counterattack.

A second day in a row of Russian attacks on Thursday hit a dam in the central city of Kryviy Rih, home of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“There are two more strikes in the hydropower infrastructure sector,” Oleksander Vilkul, the city’s mayor, said in a Telegram post.

Having announced earlier on Thursday that water levels were receding after construction crews patched up dams and river fortifications, Vilkul once again urged residents to seek safety in bunkers.

The dam, which forms a vast reservoir along the Inhulets River, was struck several times on Wednesday, causing heavy flooding in the city known for its iron and steel production. Drinking water was knocked down in some neighborhoods, forcing people to buy drinking water.

Earlier this week, Russian missile attacks on generators and power grids knocked out power across eastern regions, from Kharkiv in the northeast to Zaporizhzhia in the southeast.

“The day before they hit the power plant in Kharkiv and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity,” said Yuriy Sak, a consultant. to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

“They are creating natural disasters artificially. . . These strikes are not yet [more] evidence shows that Russia is a powerless terrorist state on the battlefield and tries to make up for its humiliation by terrorizing civilians and targeting civilian infrastructure,” added Sak.

The Moscow Defense Ministry has not officially announced a new focus on civilian infrastructure. However, the escalation went unnoticed by Russia’s pro-war commentators, many of whom were surprised by Ukraine’s rapid advance in the northeast after they announced their intentions. focus on southern Kherson region.

Many pro-invasion observers cheered the attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure and described them as long overdue, while politicians stepped in to justify the attacks.

“It is time for Russia to abandon the rules that it has adopted voluntarily, making it only target military infrastructure and not targets. [targets]”, Sergey Mironov, a member of the Duma, said during a session of the lower house of Russia, on Tuesday.

Flooding in Inhulets south of Kryviy Rih threatens to cut off Ukrainian troops from supply lines as they advance towards Russian forces in the area south of Kherson. The offensive aims to regain some of the territory lost in the first weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion in late February.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser in Zelenskyy’s administration, said the Russian military “expected that a wave would go along the Inhulets and wash away our fishing buoys, our crossings, which the army our team used to operate in this theater.”

On Thursday, Zelenskyy begged foreign backers to provide more air-to-ground defense systems, adding that Israel was one of the countries Kyiv was negotiating to supply them with.

Regarding the Kryviy Rih missile attack, Zelenskyy said: “All the occupiers can do is spread panic, create an emergency situation, try to leave people without light, heat, water and food. Can it break us? Nothing. Will they face a fair response and retribution? Definitely yes.”

Since the beginning of the summer, Ukrainian forces have launched missile strikes on bridges along the Dnipro River near Kherson to cut thousands of Russian troops on the west bank from supply lines leading to the Crimean peninsula. invaded.

Sak justified these strikes, saying that “every time Ukraine attacks a bridge to cut off their logistics, it doesn’t create a natural disaster affecting civilians”.

Russia launched artillery attacks on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Sak said. He said these were routine provocations blamed on Ukraine and used to justify the occupation of its premises.

Additional reporting by Polina Ivanova in Berlin

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