Following Moscow’s announcement that its forces would intensify military operations in “all operational areas,” a Ukrainian military officer claimed that Russia is getting ready for the next phase of its invasion in Ukraine.
In recent days, cities have been bombarded by Russian rockets and missiles, according to Kyiv.
“It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea,” Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said on Saturday. “We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.
“There is indeed a certain activation of the enemy along the entire front line… Clearly preparations are now underway for the next stage of the offensive.”
The Russian military, according to the Ukrainian military, looked to be reorganizing units in preparation for an operation against Sloviansk, a key Ukrainian city held in the eastern Donetsk region.
On Sunday, the British Ministry of Defense said that Russia was fortifying its military positions throughout the southern Ukrainian territory it controls.
As the conflict started by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 escalates, Ukraine reports that at least 40 people have died as a result of Russian shelling of metropolitan areas over the past three days.
According to Oleh Synehubov, the regional governor, rockets struck the northeastern town of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv area on Friday night, killing three people, including a woman in her 70s, and injuring three more.
“Three people lost their lives. Why? What for? Because Putin went mad?” said Raisa Shapoval, 83, a distraught resident sitting in the ruins of her home.
According to Governor Valentyn Reznichenko, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets blasted the city of Nikopol on the Dnipro River in the south, killing two people who were discovered in the ruins.
Moscow claims it is using high-precision munitions to weaken Ukraine’s military infrastructure and safeguard its own security. It describes the invasion as a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing and “denazifying” its neighbor. It has consistently denied aiming its fire towards civilians.
Kiev and the West claim that the conflict is an unjustified attempt by Moscow to retake control of a nation that was liberated from its domination in 1991 when the Soviet Union disintegrated.
According to a statement from the ministry, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu instructed military troops to step up operations to thwart Ukrainian strikes on eastern Ukraine and other Russian-controlled regions, where he claimed Kiev may damage civilian infrastructure or civilians.
His comments appeared to be a direct response to what Kyiv claims to be a series of effective strikes carried out utilizing numerous multiple launch rocket systems recently supplied by the West on 30 Russian logistics and ammo centers.
According to a spokesman for the Ukrainian defense ministry on Friday, the strikes have severely weakened Russia’s offensive capability and are wrecking havoc on its supply routes.