Russian forces intensified their ongoing bombardment on the recently liberated city of Kherson in southern Ukraine Wednesday, Ukraine’s military said.
Russia fired 33 missiles at civilian targets in Kherson over a 24-hour period, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said at a Wednesday meeting.
News of the latest attacks comes just days after seven people in Kherson were killed and at least 58 more injured in Russian missile strikes on Dec. 24.
Meanwhile, fighting continued along the eastern frontlines, as Ukrainian forces try to break through Russian defensive lines around the cities of Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk, as well as the flattened city of Bakhmut in Donetsk.
According to Britain’s defense ministry, Russia likely reinforced its positions in Kreminna because the city is logistically essential to Moscow, and has become newly vulnerable given Ukrainian advances in the west.
Ukrainian officials confirmed that air raid sirens went off across the country Wednesday morning, despite no reports of missile strikes. The all-clear was given later on.
Also on Wednesday, the Kremlin rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan, which called for the withdrawal of Russian troops and the reinstatement of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
In its rebuttal, the Kremlin doubled down on its stance that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
“There can be no peace plan for Ukraine that does not take into account today’s realities regarding Russian territory, with the entry of four regions into Russia,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
“Plans that do not take these realities into account cannot be peaceful.”
Despite the setback, Zelensky remained unbowed in an appearance before parliament.
“Our national colors are today an international symbol of courage and indomitability of the whole world,” he told the ministers.
However, Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov warned that the county faces growing “pressure from the enemy…both in terms of the numbers of men and the type and quantity of equipment.”
While Ukraine grapples with its 11th straight month of war, Russia announced its own defiance of ongoing Western sanctions aimed at paralyzing its military efforts.
As the ongoing conflict sends energy and food prices skyrocketing, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin admitted Wednesday that the country’s economy shrank by more than 2% in less than a year.
His announcement came just one day after Putin lashed out against the unprecedented $60-per-barrel price cap imposed on Russian oil on Dec. 5, saying Moscow would not sell oil to countries that impose the restriction.
Given that Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, the disruption in its sales is set to have widespread, previously-unseen consequences on global energy supplies.
With Post wires