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Russian missiles hit industrial facilities at a strategic city in southern Ukraine

VINYTSYA, Ukraine — Russian missiles hit industrial facilities in a strategic city in southern Ukraine on Sunday as a funeral was held for a 4-year-old girl killed in an earlier deadly attack elsewhere in the country.

Lisa, who had Down syndrome, was on her way to see a speech therapist with her mother when a Russian missile hit the city of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on Thursday. At least 24 people were killed, including Lisa and two boys aged 7 and 8. More than 200 others were injured, including Lisa’s mother, who remains in critical condition in intensive care.

“I didn’t know Liza, but no one can go through this in peace,” said priest Vitalii Holoskevych, breaking into tears as Liza’s body lay in a coffin with flowers and teddy bears in the 18th-century Transfiguration Cathedral in Vinnytsia .

“We know that evil cannot win,” he said, his voice shaking.

On Sunday, more Russian missiles hit industrial facilities in the strategic southern city of Mykolaiv, a key shipbuilding center at the mouth of the Southern Bug River. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Mykolaiv has come under regular Russian missile strikes in recent weeks as the Russians have sought to weaken Ukrainian defenses.

The Russian military has stated its goal to cut off the entire Black Sea coast of Ukraine all the way to the Romanian border. If successful, such an attempt would deal a crushing blow to the Ukrainian economy and trade and allow Moscow to secure a land bridge to Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria, which is home to a Russian military base.

Early in the campaign, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attempts to capture Mykolaiv, which lies near the Black Sea coast between Russian-held Crimea and the main Ukrainian port of Odessa.

Since then, Russian troops have stopped their attempts to advance on the city, but have continued to hit both Mykolayiv and Odesa with regular rocket attacks.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Sunday that Russian missiles destroyed a cache of Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered to Ukraine by NATO allies, a claim that could not be independently confirmed.

The Russians have also sought to strengthen their positions in the Kherson region near Crimea and part of the northern Zaporizhzhya region they seized at the initial stage of the conflict, fearing a Ukrainian counterattack.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that Russia was moving personnel and equipment between Kherson, Mariupol and Zaporizhia. He said the Russians are also increasing their security measures around Melitopolis.

It added: “Given the pressures on Russian manpower, the reinforcement of the south, while the fight for Donbas continues, shows the seriousness with which Russian commanders take the threat.”

For now, the Russian military has focused its efforts on trying to control Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, the Donbas, where the most capable and well-equipped Ukrainian forces are located.

Ukraine says its forces are still in control of two small villages in the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces that make up Donbas, and are successfully repelling Russian efforts to push deeper into the second, the Donetsk region.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian army said on Sunday that Ukrainian troops had repelled Russian attempts to advance on Sloviansk, the main Ukrainian stronghold in Donetsk, and other attacks elsewhere in the region.

During a visit to the front lines on Saturday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued an order to “further intensify the actions of units in all operational areas.”

The Russian military said it hit Ukrainian troops and artillery positions in the Donbass in the latest series of raids, including a US-supplied HIMARS multiple-missile launcher. The Russian claims could not be independently verified.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, responded to statements by Ukrainian officials that Kyiv could strike the bridge linking Crimea with Russia, warning that this would have disastrous consequences for Ukrainian leadership.

“If this happens, the consequences will be obvious: They will instantly face Judgment Day,” Medvedev said on Sunday. “It would be very difficult for them to hide.”

While focusing on Donbass, the Russians have hit areas across the country with missile attacks.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians not to give in to Russia’s attempts to scare them with warnings of horrific missile attacks to come, which he said were aimed at dividing Ukrainian society.

“It is clear that no Russian missile or artillery will be able to break our unity or lead us off our path” to a democratic, independent Ukraine, he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “And it is also clear that Ukraine’s unity cannot be broken by lies or intimidation, forgeries or conspiracy theories.”

In the Kharkiv region, at least three civilians were killed and three others wounded Saturday in a pre-dawn Russian strike in the city of Chuhuiv, which is just 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the Russian border, police said.

Lyudmila Krekshina, who lives in the apartment building that was hit, said a husband and an elderly man who lived on the ground floor were killed.

Another resident said she was lucky to survive.

“I was going to run and hide in the bathroom. I didn’t make it and that’s what saved me,” said Valentina Busuyeva. Pointing to her damaged apartment, she said: “There’s the bathroom – explosion. Kitchen – half a room. And I survived because I stayed put.”

___

Anna reported from Pokrovsk, Ukraine.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Russian missiles hit industrial facilities at a strategic city in southern Ukraine Source link Russian missiles hit industrial facilities at a strategic city in southern Ukraine

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