Damage in the center of the Russian city of Taganrog, July 28, 2023. AP
Heavy fighting is taking place in eastern and southern Ukraine, where kyiv’s armed forces have intensified their counter-offensive, achieving a breakthrough beyond the first Russian defense lines. A hard-fought result as the war has entered its eighteenth month and Moscow is trying to retain control at all costs of the four Ukrainian provinces it illegally annexed in September, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Kherson and Luhansk .
Eastern and southern Ukraine are at the heart of the counter-offensive launched since June 4. After recapturing several villages, the Ukrainian forces attempt to slowly make their way through the huge Russian minefields. “The enemy is clinging to every centimetre, conducting intense artillery and mortar fire,” said the commander of the Ukrainian ground armed forces, General-Colonel Oleksandr Syrsky, on Friday July 28, referring to the situation on the front line in Bakhmout where his troops, he said, are progressing despite everything.
The Ukrainian advances are risky for Russia, which is trying at all costs to repel the assault. On Friday evening, Russian missiles slammed into an apartment building and a Ukrainian security service building in the city of Dnipro, injuring nine people. “Russian missiles have again sown terror,” commented President Volodymyr Zelensky, promising to do everything possible to hold Moscow “to account” and to be “punished”.
New drone strike on Moscow
The attack came hours after Russian authorities announced the interception of two missiles described as Ukrainian over the Russian city of Taganrog, near the Ukrainian border. The fall of debris from the missiles neutralized by the Russian anti-aircraft defense caused an explosion in the center of Anton Chekhov’s hometown, where twenty people were injured. Oleksi Danilov, the Ukrainian secretary of the Security Council, blamed Russian air defense systems.
Earlier in the morning, a Ukrainian drone was shot down on the outskirts of Moscow, according to information disclosed by the Russian Ministry of Defense which did not mention any injuries or damage. This is the third drone strike on the Russian capital and its region this month.
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On Friday evening, the Russian air force pounded Staromaiorske, a small town in the south-east of the Donetsk region, which Ukrainian forces have just retaken. The conquest of this village, located 156 kilometers from the city of Zaporijia and 213 kilometers from that of Melitopol, is not good news for the Kremlin, which prefers to deny it.
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