Russia arms store hit in Donetsk as Zelensky lands another blow on Putin | World | News

Pictures show the site in Komsomolske ablaze after the strike. It comes after Russian-controlled Crimea has been hit by a number of explosions as Kyiv steps up its drive to smash Vladimir Putin‘s supply lines in and out of Ukraine.

Mystery attacks have been reported at the occupied peninsula, which have caused chaos to rail links and mass evacuations. 

Although Ukrainian officials have refused to take responsibiity it is believed Kyiv is targeting Putin away from the front line. 

Despite Ukraine not claiming responsibility for the attacks, analysts have said at least some have been made possible by new equipment used by its forces.

Volodymyr Zelensky said: “You can literally feel Crimea in the air this year, that the occupation there is only temporary and that Ukraine is coming back.” 

Meanwhile, Russia carried out artillery and air strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region, where fighting near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has raised fears of a catastrophic nuclear incident.

The attacks come ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day on Wednesday commemorating freedom from Soviet rule, with Kyiv banning public celebrations citing a threat of more attacks.

READ MORE: Ukraine: Dugin ‘suffers heart attack’ after Putin’s ‘revenge’

The US embassy in Kyiv also warned in a statement of Russian plans to strike civilian and government infrastructure in the coming days.

President Zelensky warned Moscow could try “something particularly ugly” in the run-up to Wednesday’s 31st independence anniversary, which also marks half a year since Russia invaded.

Fearing renewed rocket attacks, authorities in Kyiv moved to ban public events related to the independence anniversary from Monday until Thursday. The capital is far from the front lines and has only rarely been hit by Russian missiles since Ukraine repelled a ground offensive to seize the capital in March.

In Kharkiv, a northeastern city that has come under frequent and deadly longer-range artillery and rocket fire, Mayor Ihor Terekhov announced an extension to an overnight curfew to run from 4 pm to 7 am effective from Tuesday to Thursday.

Fears of attacks have mounted after Russia’s Federal Security Service on Monday accused Ukrainian agents of killing Darya Dugina, daughter of a Russian ultra-nationalist ideologue, in a car bomb attack near Moscow that Putin called “evil”.

Ukraine denies involvement.

The two sides have traded blame over frequent shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, where Kyiv accuses Moscow of basing troops and storing military hardware. Russia denies this and accuses Ukraine of targeting Zaporizhzhia with drones.

This week marks six months since Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine for a “special military operation” – an invasion on a scale unseen in Europe since World War Two.

Nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war with Russia, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces said.

US intelligence estimates that some 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in Ukraine and three times that number wounded – equal to the total Soviet death toll during Moscow’s occupation of Afghanistan in 1979-1989.

Since February 24, one third of Ukrainians – which has a population of more than 41 million – have been forced from their homes, the largest current human displacement crisis in the world, the United Nations Refuge agency has said.

There are currently more than 6.6 million refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe, with the biggest numbers in Poland, Russia and Germany, according to the agency’s data.


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