Russia carried out airstrikes on Kiev on Saturday and hit another military factory a day after Moscow warned it would resume strikes after two weeks of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital.
Smoke billowed from the Darnyrsky district in the capital’s southeast after Moscow said they were “high-precision long-range strikes” on the weapons factory.
Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said authorities are still determining if anyone was killed or injured in the attack.
A heavy police and military presence was deployed around the factory the day after a similar attack on a factory producing the Neptune missiles Kiev and Washington say, Russia’s Black Sea flagship, was sunk on Thursday.
Russia, which on Friday used long-range missiles at sea to hit the Vizar factory, says the Moskva missile cruiser sank while being towed back to port after ammunition exploded on board.
Amid escalating sanctions since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russia said Saturday it was barring British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several other top British officials.
“This move was taken in response to London’s rampant information and political campaign to isolate Russia internationally, create conditions to restrain our country and strangle its domestic economy,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry accused London of “unprecedented hostile actions”, referring in particular to sanctions against senior Russian officials.
“The British leadership is deliberately aggravating the situation around Ukraine, pumping up the Kiev regime with deadly weapons and coordinating similar efforts on behalf of NATO,” the ministry said.
Britain has joined an international effort to punish Russia with asset freezes, travel bans and economic sanctions, and Moscow’s new blacklist includes Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
Saturday’s strike on the Ukrainian capital was one of the first since invading Russian forces began withdrawing from the regions around Kiev last month, instead turning their attention to gaining control of the eastern Donbas region.
Kiev’s regional governor Oleksandr Pavliuk said there were at least two other Russian attacks on the city on Friday and that citizens considering returning should “wait for calmer times”.
Residential areas of Kiev were repeatedly hit at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. Moscow denies deliberately attacking civilian infrastructure.
A Pentagon official said the sinking of the Moskva, which had been in charge of Russia’s naval efforts in the seven-week conflict, was a “major blow” to Moscow, while the fate of the more than 500 crew members was uncertain. used to be.
The official said survivors were being rescued by other Russian ships, but Ukrainian authorities said bad weather had made rescue operations impossible.
“It’s symbolically a big blow,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a pride aspect.”
The loss of the Moskva – one of only three Slava-class cruisers in Moscow’s fleet – creates a “capacity gap” for the Russian navy in southern Ukraine, he said.
Under the Montreux Convention, Turkey keeps the Bosphorus and Dardanelles closed to warships in times of conflict, meaning Moscow cannot send a replacement for the Moskva to the Black Sea.
Russia’s Black Sea fleet is blocking the besieged port city of Mariupol, where Russian officials say they are in full control, though Ukrainian fighters are still holed up in the city’s fortress-like steel factory.
The United States this week pledged a new $800 million military aid package to Ukraine, including helicopters, howitzers and armored personnel carriers, and on Friday the German government said it plans to also provide more than a billion euros ($1.1) billion) in aid.
US media reported that Russia this week sent a formal complaint to Washington about its support for Kiev.
In the diplomatic note, Moscow warned the United States and NATO against sending the “most sensitive” weapons, saying such shipments “add fuel” to the situation and could have “unpredictable consequences,” the Washington Post reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Friday that Russia could use nuclear weapons out of desperation if its invasion falters, echoing recent comments by CIA Director William Burns.
“They could, I mean they can,” Zelensky told DailyExpertNews. “To them the life of the people is nothing.”
For now, Russia’s military focus appears to be on conquering the eastern Donbas region, where Russian-backed separatists control the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.
This would allow Moscow to create a southern corridor into the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Ukrainian authorities have urged people in the region to move west quickly in anticipation of a large-scale Russian offensive.
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