As NATO moved closer to the most significant expansion of the alliance in decades responding to the invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv warned on Wednesday night that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s military said Russian troops are engaged in considerable military activity in the east, northeast, and south of the country and have started creating a military strike force aimed at Kryvyi Rih, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.
Although media were not able to verify battlefield reports, the governor of Sumy region on the border with Russia, Dmytro Zhyvytsky, said that Russian forces shelled on Wednesday three towns with a total of 55 missiles that damaged homes and commercial premises, but caused no casualties or injuries.
His report also notes eight artillery shells hit residential parts of Krasnopilska community.
As tentative attempts at peace talks in March went nowhere, Kyiv dismissed on Wednesday former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s suggestions that Moscow wanted a negotiated solution to war, pointing out that any dialogue would be contingent on a Russian ceasefire and withdrawal of its troops.
Zelenskyy, who is seeking an opportunity to speak directly with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to urge him to use Beijing’s political and economic influence over Russia to bring an end to the fighting, branded Schroeder’s statement as disgusting.
Meanwhile, Russia said on Thursday it has repelled Ukrainian missile strikes at the critical Antonovsky bridge, a key structure that crosses the Dnieper river into the occupied city of Kherson, using its air defense systems
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the region’s civil military administration, said that for several weeks now, Kyiv has been striking bridges in the area hoping to cut off supplies to Russian troops in Kherson ahead of the counteroffensive Russia announced.
Moscow’s forces have been circumventing the disabled bridges using makeshift pontoon ferries to transport people across the Dnieper River.