At a time when the West is stepping up efforts to arm Ukrainians against Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that “sheds with a large quantity of foreign weapons and ammunition supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces by the United States and European countries , had been destroyed by Kalibr missiles fired from the sea at the Zaporizhia aluminum plant in southern Ukraine.
However, the governor of that region denied this Russian claim. “No ammunition and weapons depot was hit in Zaporijjia,” he said, adding that the affected factory “hasn’t been operational for six years.”
Russian troops are also bombing bridges and railroads in an attempt to slow Western arms shipments to Ukraine, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said Tuesday after destroying a strategic bridge linking that country with Romania.
These Russian attacks come as some forty countries met in Germany on Tuesday, at the invitation of the United States, to coordinate an expedited shipment of military equipment Ukraine is requesting to ward off the Russian invasion.
In a speech in London on Wednesday, British diplomatic chief Liz Truss called for aid to Ukraine to be “doubled” and prepared for a “prolonged” war. “Heavy weapons, tanks, planes — digging in our stocks, ramping up production, we have to do all of that,” she said.
The Russian army, which has been stepping up its offensive in Donbass for the past two weeks, also announced it had carried out airstrikes on 59 Ukrainian targets.
– Techno music under the bombs –
Kyiv admitted that the Russians had taken areas stretching north-south west of areas already under the control of the Russian army, suggesting Moscow wants to take a vice in a big bag of itself still in the hands of the Ukrainians.
One victim of shelling in that region, a woman, was killed on Wednesday when a hospital in Severodonetsk was hit, Lugansk region governor Serguiï Gaidaï said on Telegram.
Further north, in Kharkiv, whose northern and eastern districts are less than 5 km from the front lines, at least three people died and 15 were injured, Governor Oleg Synegoubov said on Telegram, adding: “The Russians are countering their artillery and mortar fire Residential areas on areas of Kharkiv and its environs.”
But the bombs don’t discourage the three young volunteers Nazar, Alexiï and Oleg, who, with stuffed suitcases and full of techno music, provide humanitarian aid every day in areas of this city regularly attacked by rockets.
“Our main goal is to feed children and the elderly, they need it the most,” Nazar Tishchenko, 34, told AFP.
– “escalation” –
Outside Ukraine, Russia’s Gazprom group announced on Wednesday that it had suspended all its gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland, giving assurances that those two countries had not paid in rubles, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been demanding since March.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen denounced a new “gas blackmail” campaign, reiterating that these two EU and NATO member countries, which are heavily dependent on Russian gas, are now getting supplies “from their neighbors in the European Union”. would.
“This is not blackmail,” but a reaction to “unfriendly acts,” countered Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, alluding to the freezing of Russian foreign exchange reserves abroad.
These events come at a time when many chancellery offices are concerned about the risk of escalating the conflict following a series of blasts that Kyiv is blaming Moscow on in Moldova’s pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria.
“We condemn such actions in the strongest possible terms. The Moldovan authorities will ensure that the republic is not drawn into a conflict,” Moldovan President Maïa Sandu said on Tuesday, urging Moldovans to calm down.