Ukraine-Russia War: Latest News and Live Updates
Residential areas of Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Mykolaiv have been shelled almost constantly for days, local officials say, the latest escalation in a southern town as Russian forces increasingly focus on the area and the east of the country.
Last week, a missile tore a hole in the side of a government building in Mykolaiv, killing dozens of people. On Sunday, deadly strikes injured a 15-year-old, among several others. Monday, at least 11 people were killed and 61 injured in attacks, said the regional governor.
Shelling in the city has continued almost daily for weeks, but civilian infrastructure and homes are increasingly targeted, according to local officials and soldiers. Russian forces have hit residential buildings, a hospital, an orphanage and schools in recent days, said Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv.
The assault on the town and others in southern Ukraine comes as Russian forces refocus after retreating from their positions in the north and northeast. Mykolaiv is a prime target due to its location along the Black Sea coast between Russian forces to the east and Odessa, the headquarters of Ukraine’s navy and the country’s largest civilian port, to the west. .
Russian forces increasingly besieged towns they failed to control, targeting civilians and infrastructure to demoralize populations. In the case of places like Mariupol, the beleaguered southern port city, they used hunger as a weapon of war, military analysts say.
Ukrainian soldiers defending Mykolaiv said most attacks in recent days appeared to be aimed at civilian targets rather than their positions in and around the city.
“Two days ago bombs hit our positions, but now it’s quiet,” said Sgt. Ruslan Khoda, who is based in Mykolaiv.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, air raid alarms sounded again until the early morning hours in Mykolaiv, according to Senkevych, who urged residents to take shelter immediately in a series of social media posts. .
The Russian government said it was targeting military infrastructure. On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that air and ground missiles destroyed five Ukrainian fuel depots, including in Mykolaiv, which it said were used to resupply Ukrainian forces in the region.
Military analysts said actions in the region were part of Russia’s broader offensive. Jens Stoltenberg, General Secretary of NATOtold a press conference ahead of a meeting with foreign ministers on Wednesday and Thursday that in the coming weeks another Russian push is expected in eastern and southern Ukraine.
The goal, he said, is to take the entire Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which have been held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, and create a land bridge to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Vitaly Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, said missiles hit a children’s hospital on Monday. He shared video of the attack in which a British ambulance that had been donated to hospital was hit. The video could not be immediately verified.
Mr Kim, in a separate video message posted early on Wednesday on his Telegram channel, said the situation overnight had remained relatively calm and he had spoken with residents of the town and region.
“People are tough,” he said, but added that “after Bucha’s atrocities, the mood is completely different and direct clashes will be different.”
Troops based in the region said they learned the rhythms of Russian attacks and knew how to protect themselves, limiting casualties among soldiers.
“We are well entrenched and have learned how to act during the shelling,” said a sergeant from the Mykolaiv-based 79th Air Assault Brigade, who would only give his first name, Andrei. “I feel sorry for the civilian population, who should not die.”