Russia is advancing in Donbass, Kharkov under fire

Nafter almost four months of war, Russia fired again at the city of Kharkov in northeastern Ukraine. On Wednesday, Russian troops fired numerous rockets at and around the city. According to Ukrainian sources, at least 15 civilians were killed. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the Russians wanted to tie up Ukrainian forces to turn them away from the main battle in the Donbas region.

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, based in Warsaw.

“Russian forces are acting against the city of Kharkov in the same way they acted against Mariupol – with the aim of terrorizing the population,” Arestovych said. According to Ukrainian sources, the 85-year-old woman was among the victims in Kharkov. The dead’s grandson told Ukrainian media that his grandmother was a “child of war” in relation to World War II. “She survived the war, but she didn’t get through it.”

Attacks on Mykolaiv and Odessa

According to the authorities, the rockets also hit several residential buildings in the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. In the Odessa region, Russian missiles destroyed an “infrastructure facility”. The toughest fighting continues in the Luhansk region. Arestovych expressed concern that Russian forces might surround the larger cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. “The threat of a tactical Russian victory is there, but they have not yet done so,” the adviser said.

According to Kiev sources, the Russian army is also trying to move towards Izjum and Sloviansk. In the Kherson region, largely occupied by Russia, the Russian agency RIA Novosti reported on an attack on the pro-Russian chief of administration. The man was slightly injured. The Moscow Ministry of Defense also confirmed that Ukraine attacked the Russian-controlled Snake Island in the Black Sea on Monday with combat drones and artillery.

In the meantime, a fire broke out at an oil refinery in the south-western Russian region of Rostov, which the operator also accused of a drone attack. A company in Novoshakhtinsk announced that two planes had attacked the refinery and spoke of “terrorist acts on the western border of the Rostov region.” Novoshakhtinsk is located eight kilometers from the border with Ukraine. Civil protection said no one was injured in the attack. A video was broadcast on social networks showing a drone flying to a refinery where a fire broke out. A telegram channel supporting the Russian armed forces wrote that the plane was a Chinese Skyeye drone that was available online.

Lambrecht: Training on Mars II systems begins next week

Meanwhile, according to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), training of Ukrainian soldiers on the German-promised Mars II rocket launcher is scheduled to begin next week. After the provision of seven “Panzerhaubitzen 2000” it is another weapon system “ready” for delivery to Kiev, the minister said on Wednesday in the Bundestag. As announced, Germany will provide three such systems, the United Kingdom three and America four. The systems are important “to support Ukraine with artillery, which is far-reaching but also very accurate,” Lambrecht said. Moscow on Wednesday accused Berlin of “anti-Russian hysteria.” The federal government is threatening “a decade of Russia and Germany’s efforts to overcome post-war hostilities,” Moscow’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday to commemorate Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union.

Estonia confirmed on Wednesday that a Russian border guard helicopter had violated its airspace. On June 18, the Mi-8 illegally entered the country’s airspace for almost two minutes, the Estonian army said. The foreign office in Tallinn summoned the Russian ambassador. Estonia criticized “a deplorable incident, which undoubtedly creates further tensions and is completely unacceptable,” Estonia said in a statement. According to the army, this was the second breach of airspace by Russia this year.

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