Russia claims hundreds of strikes as it prepares for offensive in east Ukraine

MOSCOW: Russia pummeled Ukraine on Monday with one of the broadest barrages of missile attacks in weeks, claiming that it hit hundreds of targets in preparation for an anticipated eastern offensive. The attacks included a strike on the western city of Lviv, where seven people were killed in the first fatalities that city has suffered in the war.
Maksym Kozytskyy, the governor of Lviv which lies 60 km from the Polish border, said preliminary reports suggested there were four strikes, three on warehouses that were not in use by the military and another on a car service station. “It was a barbaric strike at a service station, it’s a completely civilian facility,” he told a news conference. Andriy Sadoviy, mayor of Lviv, said the youngest victim among the dead was aged 30. The blast also wounded 11 and shattered windows of a hotel housing Ukrainians evacuated from elsewhere in the country, he added. “Seven peaceful people had plans for life, but today their life stopped,” the mayor said.
The Russian defense ministry said it struck more than 300 military targets overnight, including fuel depots, warehouses and other infrastructure mainly in eastern Ukraine. It said air-launched missiles had destroyed 16 military facilities in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions and in the port of Mykolayiv, which are locations in the south and east Ukraine. It added that the Russian air force had launched strikes against 108 areas where Ukrainian forces were concentrated and Russian artillery struck 315 Ukrainian military targets.
Ukraine’s armed forces command also said it has observed signs that Russia is starting an anticipated new offensive in the east of the country, increasing the intensity of attacks in parts of the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions. In a post on Facebook, the armed forces command also said that Russia’s main military force was concentrating on taking control of the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A push to seize more of the eastern region was getting under way after weeks of military setbacks, including Russia’s retreat from areas surrounding Kyiv and the sinking of a major warship in the Black Sea. Having failed in the early weeks of the war to destroy the Ukrainian military’s network of fuel and ammunition depots, Russia has intensified its attacks against those facilities, as well as transportation infrastructure. Russian forces have unleashed further destruction on major cities including Mykolaiv and Kharkiv, where six people were killed in attacks in residential areas on Sunday and Monday, officials said. Those attacks have tied up Ukrainian forces and prevented them from joining the fight farther east.

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