Friday, July 12, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 501

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Missile shot down over Russia’s Rostov region: Governor

Russian air defence shot down a Ukrainian missile in the country’s Rostov region, Governor Vasily Golubev said on Telegram.

“There were no casualties. The debris partially damaged the roofs of several buildings,” Golubev wrote.

Moscow regularly accuses Ukraine of attacks against targets inside Russia. Kyiv has denied the accusations, saying it is fighting a defensive war on its own territory.

Cluster munitions will ‘restore parity’ on battlefield: Zelensky adviser

Adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskky, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated that cluster munitions are “extremely important” for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“They somewhat compensate for our shell deficit and partially restore parity on the battlefield. Given the fact that Russia has been using this type of ammunition in Ukraine for over a year, this is at least fair,” he posted on Twitter.

Death toll rises to nine after Russian shelling of Lyman: Regional official

Nine people have died after Russian shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman on Saturday, according to the head of the Donetsk military administration Pavlo Krylenko.

“Russians killed ten residents of Donetsk region over June 8, including nine people in Lyman and one in Avdiivka. 13 more people have been wounded,” Kyrylenko said in a Telegram update Sunday, the day after the attack.

“In the Donetsk direction, the enemy launched a rocket attack on Avdiivka. Artillery shelling of Krasnohorivka in Mariinka community was recorded,” he added.

Kramatorsk was shelled overnight on Saturday, with three houses and a shop sustaining damage with no casualties.

Ukrainian official appears to claim responsibility for Crimea bridge explosion

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar has made what appears to be the clearest admission yet that Ukrainian forces were responsible for an attack last October on the bridge connecting Russia and occupied Crimea.

Listing 12 Ukrainian achievements since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion 500 days ago, Maliar wrote on Telegram: “273 days ago, [we] launched the first strike on the Crimean bridge to disrupt Russian logistics.”

The Telegram message also mentioned the sinking of the Moskva cruiser (451 days ago) and the liberation of Snake Island (373 days ago).

The attack on the Kerch bridge, which disrupted major transport links between mainland Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula, not only struck a blow against Russia’s military effort in Ukraine but also represented a psychological blow for Moscow and a major propaganda victory for Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials celebrated the blast at the time but did not make a clear claim of responsibility.

It took place the day after Russian leader Vladimir Putin turned 70, and Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov published a video of the bridge in flames alongside a video of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mister President.”

Among other responses, the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook, “Air defense of the Russian Federation, are you sleeping?” alongside a video showing a section of the bridge’s road that had been completely destroyed.

Russia condemns US decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has slammed the US decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions.

Zakharova said in a statement on the ministry’s website that cluster bombs are another step aimed at protracting the war without taking into account the cost of civilian lives.

“We are talking about a cynical attempt to prolong the agony of the current Ukrainian authorities, regardless of civilian casualties. Washington is well aware that the ‘promises’ of the Ukronazis to use these weapons of indiscriminate actions ‘carefully and responsibly’ are worthless. Civilians will be under attack,” she warned.

Russian forces make unsuccessful attempts to advance in Lyman sector: Kyiv

The general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has announced in its evening report that Russian forces made unsuccessful attempts to advance in the Lyman sector, as artillery shelling killed at least eight civilians and wounded 13 in the eastern town.

At least 10 towns and villages were shelled, the report said, adding that the Russian troops’ assault attempts had been repelled.

The city of Lyman is a key railway junction in the eastern Donetsk region. It was initially captured by Russian forces but then re-taken by Ukraine’s army in October.

Russia calls US decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions an “act of desperation”

The US decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions is an inconsequential act that will still fail to defeat Moscow’s forces on the battlefield, Russia’s foreign ministry announced in a statement Saturday.

“The transfer of cluster munitions is an act of desperation and evidence of failure of the highly publicized Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive,'” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

“It will not affect the course of a special military operation,” Zakharova added, using the preferred terminology among Kremlin officials to describe the war in Ukraine.

Zakharova claimed the US decision was “aimed at maximally prolonging the conflict in Ukraine,” but that Russia’s goals for the invasion will still be fully achieved.

Officials with the US Department of Defense have acknowledged that one of the primary reasons they’re providing cluster munitions to Kyiv is that its counteroffensive is “going a little slower than some had hoped.”

The Ukrainian military has so far failed to yield major gains, documenting incremental advances on the front lines during the offensive’s opening stages.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he wants to be strategic about where he sends troops in order to minimize casualties, especially considering they are making a slog through heavily mined territories and fortified Russian defenses.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said the pace of the counteroffensive is not surprising, given those factors.

US President Joe Biden told CNN that he deeply considered the issue of providing the cluster munitions — controversial weapons that are banned by over 100 nations because of the potential risk they pose to civilians. Ultimately, he concluded that the risk of Russia succeeding in its invasion was greater than that of letting Ukraine use the weapons on their own soil, he said.

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