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Deadly Sevastopol strike & attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear plant: The week in the Ukraine conflict (VIDEOS)

Russian forces continue moving forward in Donbass as Kiev targets civilians with drone and missile strikes

The Russian Armed Forces have pressed the advance in the Donetsk People’s Republic over the past week as military activity continued along the front lines. Ukraine has launched several major attacks against sensitive locations in Russia, including the Crimean port city of Sevastopol and the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant – the biggest such facility in Europe. 

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the liberation of the village of Shumy, located just east of Toretsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Since 2014, Kiev’s forces have turned the town into a major stronghold. The front line in the area remained relatively stable, from the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine until this week, when Moscow’s troops started actively moving west, towards Toretsk. 

The city is located roughly between two other areas of the Donetsk People’s Republic where Russian troops have actively been seeking to advance over the past months: the Avdeevka area to the south and the town of Chasov Yar to the north. 

Chasov Yar in particular remains one of the hottest points along the front line. The area had been turned into a major logistics hub and a heavily fortified stronghold by Kiev’s troops. No major changes to the front line have been reported over the past days near the town itself, but the Russian Defense Ministry reported liberating the village of Razdolovka located northeast of Chasov Yar and north of another key Donbass stronghold, Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine). 

Kiev’s forces have suffered heavy losses in the battle for Razdolovka, according to the Russian military. Up to 4,410 Ukrainian servicemen were lost there in just one week, the Russian ministry said. 

Deadly strike on Sevastopol

Last Sunday, Ukraine targeted Sevastopol, the most important naval port in Crimea and the largest city on the peninsula, using five US-supplied ATACMS missiles with cluster warheads, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. Four rockets were destroyed in mid-air, but the fifth veered off-course after being damaged by air defenses and detonated above the city. Disturbing videos from Sevastopol captured numerous bomblets landing in a packed seaside area and terrified beachgoers running for cover. The city authorities said four civilians, including two children, were killed in the strike and more than 150 others were wounded.

Moscow summoned the US ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, over the incident and told her that the US bears responsibility for it as well, since American specialists were involved in the ATACMS flight mission’s planning. Washington has sought to distance itself from the attack, claiming that Ukraine itself decides what to do with Western-supplied arms.

On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov said that he had ordered the military to come up with plans on how to respond to an “increased number of US strategic drone missions flown over the Black Sea.” According to the minister, the UAVs “conduct reconnaissance and provide targeting data for weapons, which Western nations supply to conduct strikes on Russian targets.” Such actions increase the risk of direct clashes between Russia and NATO aircraft, the minister warned, adding that NATO should be held responsible for them if they do happen. 

Attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian military shelled a radiation monitoring station near the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the officials working at the station said. The attack targeted a monitoring station in Velikaya Znamenka, a village around 15km west of the nuclear facility. The station was completely destroyed by Ukrainian artillery fire, according to the authorities. The facility was a part of a sensor network designed to monitor any potential radiation leaks. 

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A radiation monitoring station operated by the Zaporozhye NPP was destroyed by an alleged Ukrainian attack.
Ukraine destroys crucial sensors near Europe’s largest nuclear plant – officials

Russia has been in control of the Zaporozhye NPP since the early weeks of the hostilities with Ukraine. The power plant, however, has been regularly subjected to attacks throughout the Ukraine conflict. Last week, local officials reported several Ukrainian attacks on its key infrastructure, in which two transformer substations were damaged.

Kiev considers the power plant to be illegally occupied and has accused Russia of using it for military purposes – something that Moscow has repeatedly denied. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), maintains an observer mission at the site, but has declined to attribute blame for any attacks affecting the station.

Children killed in Ukrainian attack on Russian region

Five people, including two small children, were killed in a Ukrainian drone strike in Russia’s Kursk Region, local governor Aleksey Smirnov said on Saturday. Two more people were hospitalized and remain in critical condition, he added.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported what it called at least six attempts by “the Kiev regime to carry out terrorist attacks on Russian territory with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles” that were intercepted by the nation’s air defenses overnight. Two drones were destroyed in Tver Region, one in Bryansk Region, one in Belgorod Region and two in Crimea, the statement read.

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FILE PHOTO: A Roshel Senator APC used by the Ukrainian military
Russia destroys first Canadian APC – Defense Ministry

The Russian regions of Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk, all of which border Ukraine, have been the targets of Ukrainian missile, mortar and drone attacks on an almos daily basis since the outbreak of the conflict in February 2022. The strikes have targeted energy and civilian infrastructure as well as residential areas, resulting in deaths and injuries. 

Hunt for Western-supplied equipment continues

Several videos have emerged over the week showing Russian troops successfully destroying or capturing military equipment supplied to Ukraine by its Western backers. Last weekend, the first Senator armored personnel carrier (APC) provided to Kiev by the Canadian company Roshel was hit by Moscow’s forces. 

The vehicle, advertised back in 2018 as a “combat proven platform” and described by some Western media as capable of “surviving the apocalypse,” was destroyed during an offensive in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic and Zaporozhye Region, the Russian Defense Ministry said at that time. 

On Thursday, a video published by a Telegram channel showed Russian artillery destroying a German-supplied Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled 155mm howitzer. The artillery piece was reportedly hit near the key Donbass town of Avdeevka, which was liberated by Russian troops in mid-February. The Western-supplied equipment was observed by the Russian surveillance drones and tracked from its firing position to a wooded area nearby, where it was targeted by Russian forces. 

Kiev has received at least 28 weapons of the type; multiple units have been destroyed by the Russian military in artillery duels and kamikaze drone strikes. Early this year, Germany pledged to supply Ukraine with 18 additional PzH 2000s.

On Saturday, another video surfaced on social media, demonstrating the Russian soldiers capturing a US-supplied Ukrainian M1 Abrams tank. The armor piece was reportedly seized somewhere near Avdeevka. 


Footage shows the soldiers examining the relatively intact tank, which still has visible burn marks on its hull and appears to have been abandoned while standing on the edge of a field. 

Washington has pledged to deliver some 31 M1 Abrams tanks and several M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles – which share the same chassis – to Kiev early last year. The delivery was only completed in mid-October. The tanks made their actual battlefield debut in February this year; they were deployed by Kiev with the aim of stopping Moscow’s westward push in Donbass following the liberation of Avdeevka. 

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A Ukrainian Mig-29 fighter jet seen during a training session at a military airbase near Kiev, Ukraine, November 23, 2016
Russia strikes Ukrainian pilot training hub

The Russian military have since repeatedly published videos of the US-supplied tanks being destroyed, mostly by drones. 

Russia’s long-range strikes continue

Russia’s long-range airstrikes continued throughout the week, with Moscow adding Ukrainian airfields to its list of usual targets; the airfields are being prepared to host the F-16 fighter jets that the West has promised to supply.

Last Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it had carried out a group strike overnight using long-range air and sea-based weapons and drones on Ukrainian energy infrastructure facilities supporting Kiev’s defense industry as well as warehouses storing ammo and missiles supplied to Ukraine by the US and its allies. “The goals of the strike have been achieved. All designated targets have been hit,” it said.

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Russian forces strike large logistics center in Ukraine – MOD

A similar bombardment took place across Ukraine the next day, with a training site for flight and technical personnel of the Ukrainian Air Force being hit among other things, according to Moscow.

On Monday, a day after the attack on Sevastopol, the Russian military said that it targeted a “large logistics center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” which was used for the “accumulation, storage and redistribution of weapons, including missiles, delivered to the Kiev regime by Western countries.”

Midweek, the Defense Ministry in Moscow reported a series of strikes on Ukrainian airfields that it said are slated to host Western-made jets. This time, the attacks involved Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, it added. After getting the approval from Washington a year ago, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands promised to provide Kiev with dozens of F-16s, but none of the planes have been delivered yet.

June 30, 2024 at 04:02AM

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