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Russian Missiles Kill 11 in Ukraine After Tank Pledge

A massive wave of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure killed 11 people on Thursday, a day after Germany and the United States provided Kyiv with heavy tanks.

The increase in military aid dispelled long-standing Allied fears and signaled a surge in Western support for a counter-offensive against the Russian invasion.

The latest wave of Russian attacks came as the Kremlin said it saw tanks as “directly involved in the conflict.”

Many Ukrainians welcomed the move, with a doctor who identified himself as Lisa telling AFP near the front-line town of Bakhmut that “this should have happened sooner and in greater numbers.”

result As a result of the latest Russian missile strikes, 11 people were killed and another 11 were injured, according to the emergency services of Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, officials said a 55-year-old man had died in Kyiv from rocket fragments shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems.

The Ukrainian army said its forces destroyed 47 of the 55 rockets fired. Russia.

From October Russia strikes regularly on energy infrastructure throughout Ukraine, where temperatures are close to zero.

Energy Minister German Galushchenko accused Russia aspirations to “create a systemic failure in the energy system of Ukraine”.

Emergency shutdowns

Electricity supply in Kyiv had stabilized by noon, but in the southern region of Odessa on the Black Sea coast, “blackouts will continue,” the energy supply company DTEK said.

The attacks delayed the visit of French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who arrived in Odessa to discuss assistance with top Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Kuleba.

The United States said on Wednesday it would supply Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave the go-ahead to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks, a decision that opened the floodgates for several other European countries armed with Leopards to send their own donations.

The British government has said it intends to send the tanks at the end of March, with training starting next week.

While Western nations have already sent everything from artillery to Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine, tanks have long been seen as too big a step, risking a backlash from Russia.

But as Ukraine prepares for a counter-offensive to push back the increasingly entrenched Russians to the east and south, the Allies are now scrambling to retaliate.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Thursday that the Leopard tanks promised by Berlin would arrive “in late March or early April.”

He added that in the coming days, training of Ukrainian servicemen on the German Marder infantry fighting vehicles will begin, and “a little later” – Ukrainian servicemen who will be trained on the Leopard.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the tank deliveries constituted “direct participation in the conflict.”

But Paris insisted that neither France nor her allies were waging war against Russia.

“We are not at war with Russia and none of our partners,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said.

“The supply of military equipment … is not a joint action.”

After a series of failures on the battlefields Russia announced successes on the eastern front, where Ukraine acknowledged that its troops had withdrawn from the city of Soledar in the Donetsk region.

Two weeks ago, Russian troops and units with a Wagner mercenary group claimed they had captured a small salt-mining town.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said Moscow was also stepping up pressure on the eastern front in the battles for nearby Bakhmut.

This was stated by the American Institute for the Study of War. Russia participated in “sugar attacks on most of the front lines in Ukraine to disperse and divert Ukrainian forces.”

These measures, he said, were supposed to “create conditions for the launch of a decisive offensive operation” in the eastern part of the Lugansk region.

As Russian forces push forward, the head of the UN refugee agency told AFP that Kyiv and European governments should prepare for a possible wave of people fleeing the fighting.

He said that despite repeated offers of help, Russia still gave the agency only limited access to the Ukrainians there.

“Any escalation of the war, one way or another, can lead to further displacement, and we must be prepared for this,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in Kyiv.

Separately, Ukraine threatened to boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris if Russian and Belarusian athletes were allowed to participate.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told how to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus should be “further explored” despite being excluded from most Olympic sports following the invasion of Ukraine last February.

“This situation is unacceptable for our country,” Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadim Gutsayt said.

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