Russia boasts of destroying EU and US weapons in Ukraine as next phase of war begins

Ukraine: Zelensky responds to video of civilian killings by Russia

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The country’s TASS news agency says Major General Igor Konashenkov announced on Monday that Russian troops wiped out a logistics centre and large consignments of foreign weapons which arrive in Ukraine over the last six days. He is reported to have added that high-precision air-based missiles from the Russian Aerospace Forces of the Russian Armed Forces attacked Ukraine’s 124th Joint Logistics Support Centre near Lviv.

Major General Konashenkov, in translated comments, repeated: “The logistics centre and the large consignments of foreign weapons that were delivered to Ukraine from the United States and European countries over the past six days have been destroyed.”

In an unconfirmed report, he said Russian forces carried out strikes on 331 military facilities in the war-torn country, including nine command posts, a warehouse of weapons and 315 areas in Popasnaya and Novo-Mayorskoye in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry also said it had hit hundreds of military targets in Ukraine overnight.

It said air-launched missiles destroyed 16 military facilities in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions as well as in the port of Mykolayiv.

It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said on Monday that Russian forces had begun the “Battle of Donbas” after senior officials said Moscow had begun a new offensive push along most of Ukraine’s eastern flank.

Mr Zelensky said in a video address: “We can now say that Russian forces have started the battle of the Donbas, for which they have long prepared.”

According to TASS, Russia’s defence ministry said the country’s forces have also destroyed a repair centre for Tochka U ballistic missiles in Dnipro.

In recent days, Russia has intensified attacks on several Ukrainian cities, but says it is concentrating efforts on securing full control over eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

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Regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on his Telegram channel that Russian shelling in the Donbas region killed four people on Monday.

Kyiv said a Russian missile attack killed seven people in Lviv on Monday, the first civilian victims in the western city.

Ukraine also reported that there are signs that Russia has started its anticipated new offensive in the east.

Maksym Kozytskyy, the governor of Lviv which lies 40 miles from the Polish border, said preliminary reports suggested there were four strikes, three on warehouses that were not in use by the military and another on a car service station.

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He told reporters: “It was a barbaric strike at a service station, it’s a completely civilian facility.”

Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadoviy said the youngest victim among the dead was aged 30.

He added that the blast also wounded 11 and shattered windows at a hotel housing Ukrainians evacuated from other parts of the country.

The mayor said: “Seven peaceful people had plans for life, but today their life stopped.”

Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Ukrainian TV: “This morning, along almost the entire front line of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, the occupiers attempted to break through our defences.”

Kharkiv’s regional governor said authorities continue to evacuate people from two areas where they expect fighting to take place.

The prosecutor’s office said in a post on the Telegram messaging service that a man and a woman were killed in the city of Kharkiv on Monday when shells hit a playground near a residential building.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a special operation to demilitarise Ukraine and eradicate what it calls dangerous nationalists.

The Kremlin rejects what Ukraine says is evidence of atrocities, alleging that Kyiv staged them to undermine peace talks.

Last week, US President Joe Biden announced an additional £615 million ($800 million) in military aid to Ukraine, expanding the help to include heavy artillery.

A senior US defence official said on Monday that the United States military expects to start training Ukrainians on using howitzer artillery in coming days.

The US has committed more than £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24.

This compares to £1.2 billion (€1.5 billion) in military aid allocated to Ukraine by the EU.

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