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Friday, February 23, 2024

One day after Ukraine hits Russian warship, Russian drone and artillery attacks knock out power in Kherson

Russia fired almost 50 Shahed drones at targets in Ukraine and shelled a train station where around 140 civilians were gathered to catch a train to Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday. The attack killed at least five people and knocked out power in most of the southern city of Kherson.

The bombardment – on the Kherson region and its capital – hit residential areas and a mall, as well as striking the power grid, leaving around 70% of households in Kherson city without electricity during the winter cold, according to regional Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin. It was not immediately possible to estimate when power might be restored, Prokudin said.

Targeting energy infrastructure was also a Russian tactic last winter, when it tried to break Ukrainians’ spirit by denying them heating and running water.

In Odesa, another major city in southern Ukraine, the drone assault killed two people and wounded three, including a 17-year-old, regional Gov. Oleh Kiper said.

Ukraine’s air force said it intercepted 32 out of the 46 drones that Russia fired overnight.

The aerial barrage came a day after Ukrainian warplanes damaged a Russian ship moored in the Black Sea off Crimea.

The Ukrainian military said the planes had struck a 360-foot Russian landing ship – which could carry up to ten tanks and more than 200 sailors – docked in the port city of Feodosia. The Russian-backed Crimean government said one person was killed in the attack, and the Kremlin acknowledged that guided missiles had “damaged” the ship.

“This latest destruction of Putin’s navy demonstrates that those who believe there’s a stalemate in the Ukraine war are wrong!” Britain’s Defense Minister Grant Shapps said on social media. “Russia’s dominance in the Black Sea is now challenged.”

Both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers are struggling to make much progress along the front line of the 22-month war.

A Western military assessment determined that Russia’s capture this week of a city in eastern Ukraine would not provide it with a springboard for major battlefield gains.

Ukrainian commander-in-chief Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi said Tuesday that his troops had retreated to the northern outskirts of the city of Marinka, which sits about 12 miles west of Donetsk, the largest city in Russian-held territory.

Zaluzhnyi said his troops had held Marinka for almost two years, but Russians “were destroying it street by street, house by house.”

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank, said “Russian forces are highly unlikely to make rapid operational advances from Marinka.”

It noted, however, that “localized Russian offensive operations are still placing pressure on Ukrainian forces in many places along the front in eastern Ukraine.”

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