UKRAINE — Despite reports of an operational pause, Russian forces are still able to “raise true hell” in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, according to a regional governor, while the government in Kyiv urged residents of Russian-occupied southern areas to leave “by all possible means” in advance of a Ukrainian offensive.
Ukraine’s east and south have reportedly experienced deadly Russian shelling.
Serhyi Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, reported that over 20 artillery, mortar, and rocket strikes were made in the region overnight and that Russian forces were advancing toward the border with neighboring Donetsk.
Haidai posted on Telegram, “We are trying to contain the Russians’ armed formations along the entire front line.
The last significant Ukrainian resistance stronghold in Luhansk, the city of Lysychansk, was taken over by Russia last week. Moscow’s troops would likely need some time to rearm and regroup, analysts predicted.
But “so far, the enemy has not announced an operational pause. He continues to shell and attack our territory with the same ferocity as before,” Haidai said. Later, he claimed that Ukrainian forces had destroyed Russian ammunition depots and barracks, which was why the bombardment of Luhansk had been halted.
Iryna Vereshchuk, the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, urged people in Russian-controlled areas in the south to leave so that the occupiers could not use them as human shields during a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Our armed forces are approaching to de-occupy, so you need to look for a way out, she said. “There will be a huge battle. Nobody should be alarmed by me. All of this is understandable to everyone.
Vereshchuk said a civilian evacuation effort was underway for some of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions during a news conference late on Friday. She refused to provide more information, citing security concerns.
It was unclear how civilians were to leave Russian-controlled areas safely as missile attacks and artillery shelling continued nearby, as well as whether they would be permitted to leave and whether they would even be able to hear the government’s appeal.
The death toll in the conflict kept increasing.
Russian shelling of Siversk and Semyhirya in Donetsk province on Friday resulted in five fatalities and eight additional injuries, the province’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported on his Telegram channel on Saturday morning.
Rescuers claim to have extracted a 40-year-old man from the ruins of a building that had been shelled on Saturday morning in the city of Sloviansk, which has been identified as the likely next target of Russia’s offensive. Multiple people, according to Kyrylenko, are buried beneath the rubble.
Regional authorities claim that two people were killed and three others were injured by Russian missiles on Saturday morning in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih.
The governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko, claimed on Telegram that “they specifically targeted residential areas.” Oleksandr Vilkul, the mayor of Kryvyi Rih, claimed that cluster munitions had been used in a Facebook post and urged citizens to avoid approaching strange objects in the streets.
The regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, posted on Telegram that seven people were hurt in a Russian rocket attack on Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, on Saturday morning. Three of the injured, including a child, were hospitalized.
Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych of the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv claimed in a Telegram post that a Russian missile attack was in progress. He made no reference to casualties.
Russian defense officials asserted on Saturday that their troops had destroyed a hangar housing American howitzers in Ukraine, close to the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk province. The Ukrainian government didn’t respond right away.
Russian forces in Ukraine are reportedly now equipped with “obsolete or inappropriate equipment,” including MT-LB armored vehicles that have been pulled out of long-term storage, according to a report on Saturday from the British Defense Ministry.
The Soviet military began using the MT-LB in the 1950s, but it does not offer the same level of protection as contemporary armored vehicles.
The British ministry posted on Twitter, “While MT-LBS have previously been in service in support roles on both sides, Russia long considered them unsuitable for most frontline infantry transport roles.
The Russians have also defrosted tanks from the Cold War.