LEOPOLIS, Ukraine (AP) — Russian aircraft and artillery expanded their offensive against Ukraine on Friday, hitting airfields in the west and a major industrial center in the east, as Moscow’s forces regrouped after recent losses. Tried to collect and their attack became easy. Populated cities.
In their assessment of the Russian air campaign, US intelligence officials estimate that attack pilots fly an average of 200 missions a day, compared to five or 10 by Ukrainian forces, which are focusing more on the use of ground-based missiles. Huh. Rocket propelled grenades and drones to shoot down Russian planes.
New satellite images from a commercial firm have captured artillery fire over residential areas between the Russian military and the capital. Images from Maxar Technologies showed glare and smoke from large guns, as well as craters caused by the impact of shells and burning houses in the city of Moshchun, on the outskirts of Kyiv, the company said.
In a ravaged village to the east of the capital, locals climbed walls and loose metal structures into the ruins of pool halls, restaurants and theaters recently destroyed by Russian bombs.
Ivan Merzik, 62, said, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made a mess of thinking he’ll be in charge here.” With temperatures falling below freezing, locals are increasingly putting plastic or wood on the destroyed windows of their homes. The nailings were spreading.
“We’re not going here,” declared Marzik.
On the economic and political fronts, the United States and its allies proceeded to further isolate and sanction the Kremlin. US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would drastically reduce its trade position with Russia and would also impose sanctions on the import of seafood, wine and diamonds from that country.
The move to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” status was taken in coordination with the European Union and the G7 countries.
“The free world is coming together to face Putin,” Biden said.
On the battlefield, the Kremlin army was trying to regroup and gain momentum after suffering heavy losses over the past two weeks and becoming stronger than anticipated resistance. Britain’s defense ministry said Russia was trying to “re-adjust and redeploy” its troops, preparing for a campaign against Kyiv.
“It’s already bad, but it’s going to get worse,” said Nick Reynolds, a war analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a British think tank.
As the invasion enters its 16th day, Putin said there had been “some positive developments” in talks between Russia and Ukraine, but gave no further details.
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainian military had “reached a strategic turning point”, although he did not comment further.
In a video from Kyiv he declared, “It is impossible to say how many more days we will need to liberate our land, but it is possible to say that we will.”
He said officials are working to establish 12 humanitarian corridors and trying to ensure that people in different parts of the country get food, medicine and other essentials. Thousands of civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict are believed to have died in the invasion.
Zelensky accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of a city called Melitopol, calling it “a new phase of terrorism”. The Biden administration warned before the invasion of Russian plans to selectively detain and kill people in Ukraine, citing US intelligence but without offering evidence. Zelensky himself would probably be a very important target.
Faced with difficulties in the north and around Kyiv, the Russians have so far made the most progress in cities to the east and south.
Russia said it used high-precision long-range weapons to eliminate Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk military airfields in the west. According to the mayor, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the attack on Lutsk.
The Russian Air Force attacked for the first time a major industrial center in the east and the fourth most populous city in Ukraine, with nearly one million inhabitants. According to Ukraine, one person died.
In footage from the aftermath of the attack released by Ukraine’s emergency agency, firefighters can be seen spraying water on a burning building and ash falling on bloody rubble. Smoke spread over the scattered concrete where the buildings stood.
The shelling continued in Mariupol, where a bloody attack on a maternity hospital this week sparked international outrage and charges of war crimes.
Frequent attacks have prevented repeated attempts to send food and medicine, as well as the eviction of civilians from Mariupol, a city of 430,000 residents. The city’s mayor’s office said in a statement Friday that the death toll during the 12-day siege had risen to 1,582.
The mayor’s office said, because of the constant bombing, “the dead are not even being buried.”
Elsewhere, temperatures in the heavily bombed eastern city of Kharkiv are expected to reach minus 13 °C (8 Fahrenheit).
Nearly 400 apartment buildings in Kharkiv have been left without heat, with Mayor Ihor Terekhov still in the city asking residents to enter the subway and other underground shelters where blankets and hot food are being distributed.
The latest offensive came a day after satellite images showed a massive armored column that had been stalled outside Kyiv for more than a week had spread near the capital.
In Kyokolaev, hundreds of kilometers south of Kyiv, artillery fire damaged a cancer hospital, according to chief physician Maxim Beznosenko. There was no death.
Associated Press writers Felipe Dana and Andrew Drake in Kyiv, Ukraine, and other journalists from around the world contributed to this report.