Ukraine fears a large-scale Russian attack on the anniversary of its independence | International
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Six months of war and 31 years of Ukraine’s independence are an anniversary that Russia will not let go. This is what the Ukrainian government and the diplomatic corps of the United States believe. The double anniversary is celebrated this Wednesday and the local authorities have already been taking extraordinary measures since last week in the face of a possible large-scale Russian attack, especially against the capital, kyiv, from which more people than usual have left in recent days.
The US Embassy issued a statement on Tuesday urging its citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. “The State Department has information that Russia is increasing its efforts to attack government infrastructure and facilities in the coming days,” the note says. The Pakistani embassy also asked its citizens to leave the country on Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered officials in kyiv and Rada (parliament) staff to telecommute this week. The metro service has also been shortened by one hour at night since last Saturday, to serve as an anti-aircraft shelter in case of need. In Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, severely affected daily by Russian bombing, a 36-hour curfew has been imposed.
A source close to the Ministry of Defense showed EL PAÍS on Tuesday a message that was supposedly distributed among the diplomatic corps from the intelligence services of this ministry. The message was made up of a list of twenty possible Russian targets during this week, most of them in the kyiv region. These targets could be energy infrastructures and military bases.
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kyiv on high alert
A similar alarm about a possible large-scale Russian bombing in Ukraine already occurred on May 8, the date on which Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany. On that occasion, the Kremlin did not take advantage of the symbolism of the day to further punish the invaded country.
Anti-aircraft alarms have sounded twice in kyiv since this morning, without the impact of missiles on the city. Road departures from kyiv have increased traffic since Monday due to an increase in citizens who choose these days to move away from the metropolis, for fear of a Russian attack. This exit is far from being massive like the one that took place at the beginning of the war, last February, when Moscow’s troops tried to take the capital, without success.
Given the risk of an offensive with long-range missiles, on this anniversary of the country’s independence there will be no parades or gatherings of people due to the express prohibition of the Ukrainian presidency. To celebrate the date, twenty destroyed Russian military vehicles have been exhibited since last week on the main avenue of kyiv, a display of strength and resistance that has attracted thousands of visitors. The soccer league started this Tuesday after eight months suspended, a decision that is also part of the will of the authorities to convey confidence to the population. The championship will be played behind closed doors and only in four cities.
War to liberate Crimea
The 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence has served Zelensky to reiterate that the war will only end when Russia has abandoned all occupied territories, including the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014. Ukraine’s main international allies gave their approval on Tuesday in a telematic conference on Crimea to the plans for kyiv to take the initiative and go from defense to attack, a change of third that threatens to perpetuate the war for a long term impossible to foresee.
The front in the east is frozen, with no significant advances on either side. In the south, in the province of Kherson, where the Ukrainian Armed Forces want to carry out a counteroffensive to drive the invader away from the Black Sea coast, Russia has strengthened its positions with the incorporation of new units. For the Ukrainian troops to carry out the expected offensive, they would need to multiply the supply of weapons and well-trained soldiers. Major General Vejko Vello-Palm, second in the Estonian General Staff, assured last Monday, in an interview for the media ERR, that Ukraine has less than three months to launch the offensive: “The time frame is short, between eight and 10 weeks. Starting in mid-October, it will be very difficult to organize an offensive.” Weather conditions in autumn are adverse for the necessary movement of armored vehicles. The Ukrainian government in Kherson stated last July that the city, the westernmost enclave occupied by the Russians, would be liberated in September.
Valerii Zaluzhnii, commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, offered last Monday the first unofficial count of defender soldiers who died in half a year of fighting, some 9,000 soldiers. The Kremlin does not provide data on their casualties. kyiv calculates that there are more than 45,000 dead Russian soldiers, although the US intelligence services lower that figure to less than half.
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