Sunday, June 23, 2024

Russians Pounding Ukraine Cities With Long-Range Fires, Says Official 

Washington, DC – Russian forces are increasing long-range fires on Mariupol, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and other population centers in Ukraine, a senior Defense Department official said at the Pentagon today.

Since the start of the war, the Russians have launched more than 900 missiles of various types and sizes, the official said.

“What we’re seeing on the ground is a continued military effort to subdue these population centers and to do it now with ever more violence using more and more long-range fires, which are increasingly indiscriminate in terms of what they’re hitting,” the official said.

Despite the bombings, major Ukrainian cities continue to be bravely defended, the official said, mentioning Mykolaiv and the town of Brovary, which is a short distance to the east of Kyiv.

Over the last several days, there has not been a lot of progress by Russian forces, the official said. “Almost all of Russia’s advances remain stalled.”

The Ukrainians have effectively struck at Russian armored vehicles, aircraft, logistics and sustainment assets, the official said.

Also, despite having more aircraft and flying more sorties, the Russians have not gained overall air superiority, the official said, mentioning the Ukrainian effective use of surface-to-air missiles and man-portable air defense systems.

Ukrainian forces have also been skillfully using unmanned aerial vehicles to defend themselves. “We believe that they still have a significant majority of their inventory available to them,” the official said.

The U.S. and allies have been in contact with senior Ukrainian military officials to assess their additional security needs, the official said.

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the Aviation Task Force (ATF) of the Royal British Air Force, prepares to take off during an air assault exercise conducted by the United States, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom, at Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania, March 1, 2022. The multinational exercise demonstrated the interoperability between the forces in Lithuania for Saber Strike 22. Saber Strike and exercises like it show that the U.S. and European forces can simultaneously support ongoing operations and regularly scheduled training without degradation in supporting NATO allies and partners. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Mort)

There were security assistance shipments that went in over the weekend as part of the previous $350 million security drawdown package that President Joe Biden approved. Also, over the weekend, Biden approved another $200 million in security assistance. “We are fast at work on filling out that [order],” the official said.

Yesterday’s Russian attack on Yavoriv Military Training Base, Ukraine, close to the Polish border, resulted in damage to at least seven structures. The attack was launched from inside Russian airspace using more than a couple dozen air-launched cruise missiles. The Pentagon cannot independently verify the number of casualties, but no American military personnel were at that site, the official said.

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