Russian forces attack recaptured village as ’15 hurt in Ukraine missile strike’

28 July 2023, 16:14

Russia Ukraine War
Russia Ukraine War. Picture: PA

The Russian Defence Ministry claimed troops shot down a Ukrainian missile in the city of Taganrog.

Russian forces have pounded a key village that Ukraine claimed to have recaptured during its counter-offensive as Moscow accused Kyiv of firing a missile at a city in southern Russia leaving 15 people wounded.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, has marked Ukraine’s Statehood Day by reaffirming the country’s sovereignty — a rebuke to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who used his claim that Ukraine did not exist as a nation to justify his invasion.

“Now, like more than a thousand years ago, our civilisational choice is unity with the world,” Mr Zelensky said in a speech outside St Michael’s Monastery in Kyiv.

“To be a power in world history. To have the right to its national history – of its people, its land, its state. And of our children – all future generations of the Ukrainian people. We will definitely win!”

Russia Ukraine War
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky hands over a boy’s first passport during an event marking Statehood Day (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

He also honoured servicemen and handed out first passports to young citizens as part of ceremonies in the square.

The holiday coincides with the observance that marks the beginning of the widespread adoption of Christianity in land that later became Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

The Russian Defence Ministry said it shot down a Ukrainian missile in the city of Taganrog, about 24 miles east of the border with Ukraine, and local officials reported 15 people were injured.

Debris fell on the city, the ministry added, alleging that Ukraine fired the missile as part of a “terror attack”.

Rostov regional governor Vasily Golubev said on Telegram that another missile was intercepted by air defences elsewhere in the region.

The commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said his troops were pushing forward in parts of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russia and meeting stiff resistance as the war drags into its 18th month.

“The enemy fiercely clings to every centimetre, conducting intense artillery and mortar fire,” he said in a statement.

Recent fighting has taken place at multiple places along the more than 600-mile front, where Ukraine deployed its recently acquired Western weapons to push out the Kremlin’s forces. However, it is attacking without vital air support and faces a deeply entrenched foe.

A Western official said on Thursday that Ukraine had launched a major push in the south east. Mr Putin acknowledged that fighting has intensified there, but insisted Kyiv’s push has failed.

Mr Zelensky posted a video on Thursday night in which Ukrainian soldiers said they had taken Staromaiorske in the Donetsk region. Russian military bloggers said artillery fire at the Ukrainian troops had effectively razed the village and reported more barrages on Friday.

Capturing the village, which in 2014 had a population of 682, would give Ukraine a platform to push deeper into Russian-held territory, the bloggers noted.

The area has been a focus of Ukraine’s counter-offensive since June, and its troops have previously captured several other villages there as they slowly work their way across extensive Russian minefields.

It was not possible to verify either side’s claims about what is happening in the war zone.

Mr Syrskyi said fighting that targets the enemy’s artillery as well as its command and control structure is a priority as his troops probe Russian lines for weaknesses.

“In these conditions, it is crucial to make timely management decisions in response to the situation at hand and take measures for manoeuvring forces and resources, shifting units and troops to areas where success is evident, or withdrawing them from the enemy’s fire,” he said.

Russia is trying to hold on to the territory it controls in the four provinces it illegally annexed in September – Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Kherson and Luhansk.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian drone was shot down early on Friday outside Moscow, Russia’s Defence Ministry said. It was the third drone strike or attempt on the capital region this month.

The ministry said there were no injuries or damage in the early morning incident.

By Press Association

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