KYIV, Ukraine -- Russia launched airstrikes against Kyiv Sunday to destroy tanks from overseas and take aim at Western military supplies for Ukraine. The missiles struck a train repair shop in Ukraine, according to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any Western delivery of long-range rocket systems would cause Moscow to strike "objects we haven’t yet struck".
Although the Russian leader did not specify the targets of the new military escalation, the threat came days after the United States announced that it would provide $700 million in security assistance to Ukraine. These weapons include four medium-range, precision-guided rocket systems as well as helicopters and Javelin anti-tank weapon system, radars, tactical vehicles, and many more.
According to military analysts, Russia wants to take over Ukraine's eastern industrial Donbas, where Russia-backed separatists are fighting the Ukrainian government since 2014. This is before any U.S. weaponry that could turn the tide. According to the Pentagon, it will take at most three weeks for the U.S. weapons to reach the battlefield.
A Ukrainian official stated Sunday that Russian air strikes in Druzhkivka's eastern city destroyed buildings and killed at least one person. Residents reported hearing the sound of missile strikes and seeing rubble and glass fall around them.
Svitlana Romashkina stated, "It was like in horror movies."
Pavlo Kyrylenko, Donetsk governor, urged residents to flee the city. He posted on Facebook that while ruined buildings could be restored but that "we won’t be able to restore the lives lost."
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, precision missiles launched from air were used to destroy Ukrainian workshops in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.
The General Staff of Ukraine stated that Russian forces had fired five X-22 cruise-missiles from the Caspian Sea towards Kyiv. One was also destroyed by air defenses. The missiles also hit "infrastructure installations", but Ukraine claimed there were no casualties.
Energoatom, a nuclear plant operator, reported that a cruise missile passed close to the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant, which is 350 km (220 miles) south. He warned of the potential for a nuclear disaster if one missile fragment hits the plant.
According to the Telegram app, Russian Defense Ministry stated that high-precision, long range air-launched missiles were fired from Russia. They destroyed T-72 tanks provided by Eastern European countries as well as other armored vehicles found in a train repair shop.
However, the head of Ukraine’s railway system denied that tanks were present. Oleksandr Kamyshin claimed that four missiles struck the Darnytsia auto repair plant. However, no military equipment was stored there. He claimed that the site was used for repair of gondolas as well as carriers to export grain.
Telegram user - "Russia has once more lied" "Russia's real goal (Russian's) is to destroy the economy and the civilian population. They want to stop us from exporting Ukrainian products."
Putin attacked Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine in a Sunday television interview, claiming they are trying to prolong the conflict.
Putin stated that "all this fuss about additional weapons deliveries, in my view, has only one purpose: To drag out any armed conflict as far as possible." Putin said that such supplies would not change Ukraine's military situation. He claimed they were merely compensating for the loss of similar rockets.
He said that if Kyiv receives longer-range missiles, Moscow would "draw appropriate conclusions" and use its means of destruction (which we have plenty) to strike at the objects we haven’t yet struck.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Sunday, that Spain planned to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles as well as up to 40 Leopard 2A4 battle tanks. The report was not confirmed by the Ministry of Defense of Spain.
The air was filled with a billowing smoke pillar that surrounded the warehouse-type structure. Soldiers blocked a road that led to a large railway yard from a nearby location.
Prior to Sunday's attack in the early morning, Kyiv had not been subjected to such Russian air strikes since April 28th's visit by U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This attack set off air raid alarms, and demonstrated that Russia had the ability and willingness to strike at Ukraine's heart.
Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine has resulted in untold civilian and troop deaths. It has also driven millions of people from their homes. This led to strong sanctions against Putin and his government, as well as strangling exports of vital wheat and other grains from Ukraine via the Black Sea ports. This has led to bread shortages and a rise in prices, which are affecting low-income countries across Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
Russian forces have been focusing on the capture of Ukraine's eastern cities, Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, in recent days. They continued their push on Sunday with airstrikes and missile strikes against Donbas cities and villages.
In its daily intelligence update, the U.K. military stated that Ukrainian counterattacks in Sieverodonetsk are "likely to blunt the operational momentum Russian forces previously acquired through concentrating combat units firepower and combat units." Russian forces had previously made a series of advances in the city. However, Ukrainian fighters have been resisting these advances in recent days.
According to the statement, Russia's military relied partly on Luhansk separatists' reserve forces.
According to intelligence updates, "these troops are not well-equipped and trained and do not have heavy equipment in comparison with regular Russian units." The intelligence update added that the move "indicates a desire for limiting casualties suffered regular Russian forces."
The national soccer team of Ukraine hopes to win a spot in the World Cup when it takes on Wales later this Sunday in Cardiff.
On the diplomatic front Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, was headed to Serbia to meet President Aleksandar Vucic. He will then visit Turkey on Tuesday where the war in Ukraine will be a major topic.
Turkey tried to negotiate with the U.N. and warring countries in order to allow Ukrainian grain to be exported to Turkish ports. However, no agreement appeared to be imminent.
Ukrainian authorities claimed that Russia and Ukraine had swapped bodies of their troops in the first official confirmed swap. Ukraine claimed Saturday that each side had exchanged 160 corpses two days prior at the front line of the southern Zaporizhzhia area.
Russian officials have not commented on the exchange.
Follow AP's coverage of the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine