Ukraine says Russia is preparing for next attack

  • Russia Shells ‘Full Front Line’ – Ukraine Army
  • Russia Regroups for Attack on Sloviansk, Kiev Says
  • Moscow has ordered measures to prevent Ukrainian attacks in the east
  • Russia strengthens positions in the south – Britain

KYIV, July 17 (Reuters) – Russia is preparing for its next offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said.

As Western supplies of long-range weapons begin to help Ukraine on the battlefield, Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities, killing dozens in recent days, according to Kyiv.

“It’s not just missile attacks from the air and the sea,” Vadim Skibitsky, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said on Saturday. “Throughout contact, we can see shelling on the entire front line. Tactical aviation and attack helicopters are actively used.

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“Clearly preparations are now underway for the next phase of the attack.”

Ukraine’s military appears to be regrouping units for an attack on Sloviansk, a key Ukrainian-held city east of Donetsk.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday it was beefing up security in areas occupied by Russia in southern Ukraine after pressure from Ukrainian forces and pledges by Ukrainian leaders to expel Russia. read more

Ukraine says Russian shelling has killed at least 40 people in urban areas since Thursday as the war, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, escalates.

Dozens of relatives and local residents attended the funeral of 4-year-old Lisa Dmitrieva in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Sunday. The girl was killed in a missile attack that killed 24 people in central Vinnytsia on Thursday, according to Ukrainian officials.

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Three people, including a 70-year-old woman, were killed and three others wounded when rockets hit the northeastern city of Suhuiv in Kharkiv region on Friday night, regional governor Oleh Sinehupov said. read more

“Three people lost their lives, why? Why? Because Putin is mad?” said 83-year-old Raisa Shaboval, a distraught resident sitting in the rubble of her home.

In the south, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets hit the Dnipro River city of Nikopol, killing two people found in the rubble, Governor Valentin Resnichenko said.

Eight years

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia has been sowing grief and death on Ukrainian soil for eight years since the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, after international investigators said the missile may have been launched from Russia’s surface. Militants supported in the region.

“But nothing goes unpunished!” he said. “Every criminal will be brought to justice!”

Moscow calls the invasion a “special military operation” and says it is using high-precision weapons to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure and protect its own security. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

Kiev and the West say the conflict is an unprovoked attempt to recapture a country freed from Moscow’s rule with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered military units to step up operations to deter Ukrainian attacks in eastern Ukraine and other Russian-controlled areas where he said Kyiv could hit civilian infrastructure or residents.

His comments appeared to be a direct response to what Kyiv said was a string of successful attacks on 30 Russian logistics and munitions centers recently, using Western-supplied multiple-launch rocket systems.

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The strikes are wreaking havoc on Russian supply lines and significantly reducing Russia’s offensive capabilities, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday. read more

Pro-Russian separatists said Ukraine had fired six US-made HIMARS rockets into the town of Alchevsk, east of Sloviansk, on Saturday. The self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic said the strikes killed two civilians and damaged a bus station, health camp and residences.

Ukraine’s armed forces said they struck after receiving information that the bus depot was being used to house Russian troops.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces destroyed a launch pad and reloading vehicle for one of the HIMARS systems deployed near the eastern city of Pokrovsk.

It said it shot down a Ukrainian Mi-17 helicopter near Sloviansk, an Su-25 fighter jet further north in the Kharkiv region, and destroyed a depot in Odesa, southern Ukraine, that stored Harpoon anti-missile missiles from NATO countries.

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Reporting by Reuters Bureau Raju Gopalakrishnan and Philippa Fletcher Editing by William Mallard and Francis Kerry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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