Russian headquarters ‘destroyed’ in eastern Ukraine as Kyiv marks independence day
Russian sources have reported that three people were killed after the Ukrainian military targeted a Russian administrative building in Donetsk with accurate US-made Himars.
The Donetsk People’s Republic headquarters suffered a direct hit on Tuesday, the Russian-appointed mayor of Donetsk Alexey Kulemzin told Kremlin mouthpiece Tass.
The reports have not been independently verified.
Donetsk has been controlled by Moscow-backed separatists since the 2014 invasion.
Today (Wednesday) marks six months since Russia’s invasion and the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union with Kiev warning that Russia may carry out missile attacks against Ukrainian cities.
Previous years have seen celebrations and parades.
The head of the military administration in Kyiv, Major General Mykola Zhyrnov, said events have been banned in Ukraine’s cities so the security forces can respond efficiently to any Russian attacks.
Wrecked and captured Russian military vehicles, including tanks, were displayed on Khreshchatyk in central Kyiv. The hardware is largely from Putin’s failed attempt to capture Kyiv in February.
“The enemy planned to hold a ‘parade’ on Khreshchatyk in three days but it didn’t work out. Our armed forces answered back,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko of the Ukrainian President’s office, posted on Telegram as vehicles were being lowered into place by crane.
Crowds on Khreshchatyk have been inspecting the vehicles. Children crawled on a tank and residents posed for pictures.
Today the United States is set to mark the six-month anniversary with a US$3-billion weapons package for Ukraine.
Sources said some of the equipment may not arrive on the frontline for years as part of a plan to secure Ukraine’s long-term defence.
The pledge would take total US support to Ukraine to almost US$12 billion.
US and European money and military aid remain critical to Ukraine’s capacity to repel Russia’s invasion and its hopes of reclaiming territory, including Crimea.
There are fears that western commitments will decline as the war drags on.
“I call it fatigue syndrome and for me it’s one of the main threats,” Ukrainian defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN. “We need to work with this threat, because we need to … communicate, to ask people, don’t be on this fatigue. Because this is very, very dangerous for us.”
Sparking fears of more attacks was death of the daughter of influential, nationalist philosopher and Ukraine war propagandist, Alexander Dugin, killed in a car bomb in Moscow. Ukraine denied responsibility but the bombing sparked Russian demands for vengeance and total war against Ukraine. Putin has seized on similar events in the past to justify military action.
Himars. Picture credit: Wikimedia