A ferocious wave of Russian attacks targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure killed 11 people on Thursday, a day after Germany and the United States pledged to deploy heavy tanks in Kyiv.
The increased military aid has dispelled long-standing unrest among allies and signaled a surge in Western support for counterattacking Russian aggression.
The latest wave of Russian attacks came when the Kremlin said it considered the tanks a “direct involvement in the conflict.”
The move was welcomed by many Ukrainians, and a doctor who gave only his first name, Liza, told AFP near the front-line city of Bakmut: “This should have happened earlier and on a larger scale.”
as a result Russia’s latest missile strike has killed 11 people and injured 11, Ukrainian emergency services said.
Earlier in the day, officials said a 55-year-old man was killed in Kyiv by fragments of a missile shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems.
The Ukrainian military said it had destroyed 47 of the 55 missiles it fired. Russia.
From October Russia has launched regular strikes against energy infrastructure across Ukraine where temperatures are near freezing.
German Energy Minister Garshchenko accuses Russia It aims to “create a systemic failure in the Ukrainian energy system.”
Kyiv’s power supply stabilized by the afternoon, but the southern region of Odessa on the Black Sea “will continue to have emergency blackouts,” energy provider DTEK said.
The attack delayed the visit of French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who had arrived in Odessa to discuss aid with Ukraine’s top diplomat, Dmytro Kleva.
The US announced Wednesday that it would provide Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave the green light to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks.
The British government said it aims to deploy tanks at the end of March and start training next week.
The West has already sent everything from artillery to the Patriot anti-missile defense system to Ukraine, but tanks have long been considered too far. Russia.
But allies are now caught up in the mix as Ukraine prepares for counterattacks to push back an increasingly entrenched Russia in the east and south.
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 training of Ukrainian troops in German Marder infantry fighting vehicles will begin in the next few days, with a “slight delay” for Ukrainian soldiers trained in Leopards.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the tank delivery represented a “direct involvement in the conflict.”
But Paris claimed that neither France nor its allies were at war. Russia.
“We are not at war Russia None of our partners are,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre.
“Delivery of military equipment … does not constitute a joint effort.”
After setbacks in the battlefield, Russia Ukraine claims its interests on the Eastern Front, which has acknowledged the withdrawal of troops from the town of Soledar in the Donetsk region.
Russian forces and units from the Wagner Mercenary Group claimed to have captured a small salt-mining town two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maryal said Moscow was also stepping up pressure along the Eastern Front in the battle for nearby Bakhmut.
The US-based War Research Institute said: Russia It was engaged in “ruining offensives on most of the Ukrainian front lines in order to disperse and distract Ukrainian forces.”
These measures are to “set the conditions for launching decisive offensive operations” in the eastern Lugansk region, it said.
As Russian forces advance, the head of the UN refugee agency told AFP that governments in Kyiv and Europe must prepare for waves of people who may flee the fighting.
Despite his repeated offers of help, Russia Authorities still allowed limited access to Ukrainians.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in Kyiv that “if the war escalates, it could somehow lead to further displacements, and we need to be prepared for that.”
Separately, Ukraine threatened to boycott the 2024 Paris Olympics if athletes from Russia and Belarus were allowed to participate.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ensures that athletes Russia And Belarus should be “further investigated” despite being excluded from most Olympic sports since the invasion of Ukraine last February.
“This situation is unacceptable for our country,” said Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadim Gutzeit.