KYIV-Ukraine said on Sunday it suffered several waves of aerial attacks overnight, which Moscow said targeted military airfields, a day after a strike on a Russian tanker on the Kerch Strait. The Ukrainian air force said Sunday it shot down 30 out of the 40 cruise missiles and all Shahed drones launched by Russia.
“In total, the enemy used 70 air attack weapons in several waves” in the night between Saturday and Sunday. It added that Russia launched three Kinzhal hypersonic missiles but did not say if they had been destroyed. The Ukrainian armed force did not specify which sites were hit by the missiles that got through air defences.
The Russian army however said it struck “Ukrainian armed forces airbases around the settlements of Starokostiantyniv in the Khmelnytskyi region and Dubno in the Rivne region.”
Home to a major airbase, the western Khmelnytskyi region located hundreds of kilometres from the front lines of the fighting has been repeatedly targeted during the war. “Since yesterday evening, the Khmelnytskyi region has been attacked three times... most missiles were shot down” said local official Sergiy Tyurin. Several buildings and the bus station were damaged, he said on Telegram. He also posted pictures of a crumbling building engulfed in flames, saying a corn waste warehouse had caught fire.
Meanwhile in the Rivne region that Russia said it hit, “only a few private households were damaged” according to regional head Vitaliy Koval. On Saturday Ukraine said Russian forces struck a blood transfusion centre in the Kharkiv region of northeast Ukraine.“This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. The reported strike came shortly after Zelensky said Russian missiles had hit a facility of the Ukrainian aeronautics group Motor Sich, one of several companies requisitioned by the government since Moscow’s invasion.
On Sunday morning the Russian army said “all targets were hit” in the overnight strikes.
It said that separately Russian air defence forces shot down a drone approaching Moscow.
The Russian capital was almost never targeted since the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine, until a series of attacks in recent months. The drone was downed without any casualties or damage, and restrictions on flights at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport were quickly lifted. There have been an increased number of drone attacks not only on regions bordering Ukraine, but also on Moscow. A Ukrainian drone hit a Russian oil tanker south of the Kerch Strait in the night between Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday morning repair work was being carried out on the vessel that was still afloat, according to Russia’s Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport. Attacks have multiplied on both sides of the Black Sea since Russia exited a deal protecting grain exports there, brokered by the UN and Turkey. Russia has hit port infrastructure on the Black Sea and the Danube, while Ukraine has targeted Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. While combat continues, the likelihood of securing peace looks extremely thin. Saudi Arabia nevertheless hosted talks on the Ukraine war Saturday in the latest flexing of its diplomatic muscles.Organisers succeeded in bringing together representatives of the four members of the influential BRICS bloc besides Russia: Brazil, India, China and South Africa. “We had an extremely honest, open conversation,” a statement on the Ukrainian presidency website said Sunday. It said the consultation was “very productive” despite “different views”.
The Ukrainian delegation headed by Andriy Yermak is due to hold more bilateral meetings Sunday.