The anti-aircraft alarms sounded again far from the Ukrainian front lines and close to where the civilian population sleeps. A day after 21 people were killed in a shelling of two residential buildings in Odessa Oblast, a huge explosion occurred in Mykolaiv, a nearby town in the south of the country. No casualties or reasons for the detonation were reported. The event closes a week in which Russia, even denying it, has claimed dozens of innocent lives.

Lysychansk is located on the western bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, the fluvial barrier in eastern Ukraine that its Armed Forces tried for weeks to turn into a natural border with the occupied territories. With this intention, last week kyiv ordered the withdrawal of troops in Severodonetsk. Yesterday, a spokesman for the Ukrainian separatist forces, which support the Russians, claimed that the river divide had been breached and Lysychansk surrounded.

“The fighting continues around Lysychansk. [But] fortunately the city has not been surrounded and is under the control of the Ukrainian army,” Ruslan Muzytchuk, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Guard, said on television to deny his enemies. However, Russia is using all its firepower to end the resistance in this highly strategic location. As they did in Severodonetsk or Mariupol, the plan is to reduce the city to rubble.

“During the previous day, the occupiers opened fire with all the weapons at their disposal,” the government delegate in Lugansk, Serhiy Haidai, declared through social networks. Russia’s goal is to take Lysychansk in order to claim control of the entire Luhansk Oblast, one of the regions that the Kremlin recognizes as sovereign republics. A recognition to which Syria, a country almost totally dependent on Moscow, joined this week.

Thus ended a week as fateful as it was hopeful for the Government of Volodimir Zelenski. At the NATO summit in Madrid, Ukraine received new promises of weapons and political support, including recognition of the Ukrainian will to join the European Union. But since last week, Russia has increased attacks against civilians. At least 19 people were killed in Kremenchuk on Monday, where two missiles hit a shopping mall.

Yesterday, sources from the emergency services reported the discovery of 29 body fragments in the ashes of the supermarket, a reminder of the horror that haunts the Ukrainians. On Friday there were 21 more deaths near Odessa, shortly after it was announced that the Ukrainians had retaken the important enclave of Snake Island after a bombing campaign against the Russians who had stationed themselves there.

In order to defend itself, kyiv anxiously awaits the arrival of the US NASAM anti-aircraft systems, which will be accompanied by ammunition and anti-artillery radars. With these weapons he wants to hold the pulse of the Russians, who continue to try to expand from the east without definitively giving up another attempt to take over the capital.

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