The capital of Ukraine has been trying to regain calm since the beginning of last April. But Russia makes sure that its citizens do not stop feeling the icy breath of Vladimir Putin on their necks. At dawn on Sunday, four large Russian missiles hit near the center of kyiv, causing further damage to residential areas and infuriating the population. As if wanting to send a message, the Kremlin attacked shortly before a NATO meeting in which Ukraine will be very present.
It had been three weeks since the missiles had hit the largest Ukrainian city, where many returned after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region in search of normality. According to the mayor of kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, “several forceful explosions” shook the Shevchenkivsky district, the site of universities and other civil facilities. Two people, one of them a Russian woman, were hospitalized and a seven-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.
The last attack on kyiv occurred on June 5. On April 28, five missiles launched from the Black Sea also hit Shevchenkivsky shortly after the end of the meeting between the UN Secretary General and President Volodymyr Zelensky. That time, as had happened a few days before, Russia justified the attack by arguing that its weapons had hit a military target. Along the way, they killed the Ukrainian journalist Vira Hyrych in her own home.
The Russians went for kyiv in a sweet moment. On Saturday, his troops secured control of Sieverodonetsk after the government ordered Ukrainian forces to withdraw from the city a day earlier. Official sources in Ukraine explained to the Ukrainian TV network that their soldiers were moving into “positions, more prepared.” They left behind, a town in ruins and numerous civilian refugees in the Azot chemical plant, now surrounded by territory controlled by Russia.
Immediately afterwards, the Russian military and the Ukrainian separatist forces that support them began to penetrate Lyschansk, the next focus of the fighting and the last town in the Luhansk region under Ukrainian control. If it falls, the Kremlin stands to score one of the biggest strategic victories since the beginning of the invasion. A victory that is, at the same time, a psychological blow to the Ukrainian defenders. Boris Johnson tried to draw attention to this issue yesterday.
Meeting together with other G7 leaders in a German country house, the British Prime Minister yesterday warned of “fatigue” among Western countries in relation to the Ukrainian war. “Realistically, there will be fatigue in populations and in politicians,” Boris Johnson warned reporters. “I think the pressure is there […] we have to be honest about it.” In other words: it is possible that, if the war drags on and enters a phase of attrition, Ukraine will lack crucial external support.
The premier insisted that “for unity to work,” “we have to have very, very honest discussions about the implications of what’s going on,” pointing to the economic devastation caused by the war.
His words come shortly after a new attack on Ukraine with 20 rockets launched from Belarus, as part of an official visit by Putin to his counterpart Lukashchenko. Putin promised to send missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Ukraine, which is reluctant to attack Ukraine with its own forces.
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