Moscow Launches New Major Offensive on Kiev & Russian Governor Calls for Annexation of Kharkov

By: naohzohlily May. 30,2023

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ukraine reports that the capital, Kiev, came under heavy drone attack on Tuesday morning, with a series of powerful explosions ringing out in several neighborhoods of the city, while the governor of Russia's Belgorod province called for the annexation of Ukraine's Kharkiv province to Russian territory.

Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko announced that at least four neighborhoods were damaged by what he described as a widespread attack on the city, with debris from the drones falling on houses and cars, causing them to catch fire, and noted that at least one woman was injured, according to preliminary information.

The mayor of Kiev added that powerful explosions rocked the historic Pechorsk neighborhood (downtown Kiev), adding that Kiev was under a massive Russian attack and called on residents of the capital to stay in shelters.

Al Jazeera cameras monitored the impact of the blast as air defense systems struggled to bring it down in the skies of the Ukrainian capital.

Russian forces have launched 17 airstrikes on Kiev since the beginning of May this year.

Monday's attack
The Ukrainian capital came under heavy Russian missile and drone fire on Monday, with authorities in Kiev saying 11 Iskander ballistic missiles were fired at the city and all were shot down.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities must be stopped by strengthening air defenses, including by providing F-16 fighter jets.

The frequency of targeting of the capital has increased since early May due to the depletion of Ukrainian air defenses.
Against this backdrop, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said air defense forces have saved hundreds of lives by countering Russian missile attacks with Iranian Witness drones, cruise and ballistic missiles and guided aerial bombs.

In his daily message, Zelensky stressed that his country needs to acquire more air defense systems, increase pressure on Russia and isolate it in order to defeat terrorism.

The Ukrainian president praised the performance of the U.S. Patriot air defense system protecting Kiev, saying it has achieved a 100 percent interception rate against Russian missiles.

Rare admission
Earlier Monday, the Khmelnytskyi regional administration in western Ukraine said Russia attacked a military base yesterday night, noting that it consisted of warehouses and military airstrips.

In a post on Telegram, the Khmelnytskyi regional government said, "Russian forces bombed several locations, including a military (site) in the Khmelnytskyi region."

The regional government also reported a fire at a fuel depot and damage to military equipment and airstrips, adding, "Efforts to control the fire continue."

The same source said five aircraft had been grounded, without providing further details, and the source noted that work had begun on repairs to the airstrip.

However, the Khmelnytskyi regional government did not mention any possible number of people killed, saying only that this information "will be clarified."

In a statement released Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it bombed Ukrainian "airports" overnight and "destroyed" all targets, with Russia talking about how "all identified targets were destroyed but did not specify the location of the attack.

Belgorod governor
The governor of Russia's Belgorod province, which borders Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said the solution to the bombing and repeated attacks on the province is to incorporate Kharkiv province (northeastern Ukraine) into Belgorod.
The governor of Belgorod said Monday that Ukraine bombed two industrial facilities in the province, killing four people.

Russian media also reported that the Ukrainians bombed a number of villages in Belgorod with 30 artillery and mortar shells and released video footage showing smoke coming from the targeted areas.

The governor of Belgorod earlier said the province was in the midst of a live battle, adding that five Ukrainian reconnaissance teams had infiltrated the province since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Last week, the largest armed incursion in the Belgorod region since the war began took place, with Moscow calling the two groups Ukrainian saboteurs and the infiltration accompanied by bombings and drone fire.
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