The Ukrainian attack on Melitopol, the Russian side says, killed two

Written by Nick Starkoff

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian authorities installed and exiled by Russia in the strategically located city said Ukraine attacked occupied Melitopol in the southeast of the country on Saturday night.

Pro-Moscow authorities said a missile attack killed two people and wounded 10, while the exiled mayor said dozens of “invaders” were killed.

Reuters could not independently verify reports of the attacks or deaths.

“Two missiles were destroyed by air defense systems, and four reached their targets,” Yevgeny Paletsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the occupied part of the Zaporizhia region, said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said that a “recreation center” where people were eating was destroyed in the Ukrainian HIMARS attack.

The exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, said on his Telegram channel that the attack hit a church that Russians had turned into a gathering place.

Vladimir Rogov, another Moscow-appointed official in the Russian-controlled part of Zaporizhia, said a large fire caused by the strike engulfed the entertainment centre. He posted a video of a burning structure.

The HIMARS multiple rocket launchers were among Ukraine’s most effective weapons of the war, firing accurate fire on hundreds of targets, including Russian command posts. On Friday, the United States said it would send more aid to Kiev to bolster its air defenses and defeat drones.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Aristovich, said Melitopol, a major industrial and transport hub that Russia has occupied since March, is key to the defense of the south.

“All the logistics linking the Russian forces in the eastern part of the Kherson region and all the way to the Russian border near Mariupol is done through them,” Aristovich said in a video interview on social media.

See also  The new European club meets without Russia

“If Melitopol falls, the entire defense line all the way to Kherson collapses. Ukrainian forces get a direct route to Crimea.”

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian military on the attacks. Earlier today, the Central Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said it had carried out strikes on Melitopol.

(Reporting by Nick Starkoff in Kiev; Writing by Lydia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by William Mallard)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.