Russian forces fired cruise missiles to destroy a major depot containing US and European weapons in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine on Sunday (June 12) as street fighting raged in the is in the city of Sievierodonetsk.
The governor of the Ternopil region said a rocket attack on the city of Chortkiv fired from the Black Sea partly destroyed a military installation, injuring 22 people.
A local official assured that no weapon was stored there. Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Moscow would hit new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile systems.
Appeals for renewed donations
Ukrainian leaders have renewed calls for Western countries in recent days to speed up deliveries of heavy weapons as Russian forces pound the east of the country with artillery. Sievierodonetsk became the epicenter of the battle for control of the Donbass region in the east, consisting of the provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.
The city was partially destroyed by clashes, the most violent since Moscow launched its invasion of the country on February 24. Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Sunday that Ukrainian and Russian forces were still clashing in street battles in Sievierodonetsk.
He added that Russian forces had taken most of the town but Ukrainian troops still controlled an industrial zone and a chemical plant where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge. After having to revise its initial war objectives, Moscow is now focusing on Donbass, where pro-Russian separatists have held part of the territory since 2014.
“Everyone wants to evacuate now”
According to Ukraine, some 800 people are hiding in bomb shelters under the Azot plant, including employees and townspeople. “No one can say if there have been casualties and how many there have been in the past 24 hours in Sievierodonetsk, where intense fighting continues,” Serhiy Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday. .
“Everyone wants to evacuate now, probably, but so far it’s not possible,” he added. In Lysychansk – Sievierodonetsk’s twin town across the Donets River – a woman was killed in Russian shelling while four houses and a shopping center were destroyed, according to Gaidai.
To the south and south-west of Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces were firing mortars and artillery, the Ukrainian general staff said in a daily report, according to which Russian advance attempts were however repelled.
According to Interfax, Russian forces used Kalibr cruise missiles to attack the depot in the Ternopil region and downed three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.