June 4, 2023

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Ukraine says Russia is preparing for the next stage of the offensive

Ukraine says Russia is preparing for the next stage of the offensive

  • Russian bombing “along the entire front line” – the Ukrainian army
  • Kyiv says Russia is regrouping for attack on Sloviansk
  • Moscow orders steps to prevent Ukrainian strikes in the east
  • Russia strengthens its positions in the south – Britain

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in “all areas of operation”.

Russian missiles and rockets have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days.

“It’s not just air and sea missile strikes,” said Vadim Skipetsky, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, on Saturday. “We can see the bombing along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.

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“It is clear that preparations are now underway for the next phase of the offensive.”

The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping its units to launch an attack on Sloviansk, a city of symbolic importance controlled by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.

The British Ministry of Defense said, on Sunday, that Russia has strengthened its defense positions in the areas it occupies in southern Ukraine, after pressure from Ukrainian forces and pledges from Ukrainian leaders to force Russia to leave. Read more

Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in Russian bombing of urban areas in the past three days, as the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin intensified on February 24.

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The region’s governor, Oleh Senhopov, said that rockets fell on the town of Chuhav, northeast of the Kharkiv region, on Friday night, killing three people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding three others. Read more

“Three people lost their lives, why? Why? Because Putin went crazy?” A stunned resident sits in the ruins of her home, said 83-year-old Risa Shapoval.

To the south, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets pounded the city of Nikopol on the Dnipro River, killing two people found under the rubble, Governor Valentin Reznichenko said.

Moscow, which describes the invasion as a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor and root out nationalists, says it is using high-precision weapons to undermine Ukraine’s military infrastructure and protect its security. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

Kyiv and the West say the conflict is an unjustified attempt to reoccupy a country freed from Moscow’s rule with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered military units to step up operations to prevent Ukrainian strikes on eastern Ukraine and other Russian-controlled areas, as he said Kyiv could hit civilian infrastructure or the population, according to a statement from the ministry.

His comments appeared to be a direct response to what Kyiv called a series of successful strikes on 30 Russian logistical and munitions centers, using several of the multiple launch missile systems recently provided by the West.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday that the strikes had caused chaos in Russia’s supply lines and significantly reduced Russia’s offensive capability. Read more

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Russia-backed separatists said Ukraine bombed the town of Alchevsk, east of Slovinsk, with six US-made high-mobility artillery rockets on Saturday. The Luhansk People’s Republic said the strikes killed civilians and damaged a bus depot, a health camp and apartments.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine, which says it is targeting only military infrastructure.

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Reporting from the Reuters offices Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Philippa Fletcher Editing by William Mallard and Frances Kerry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.