Russia strikes towns across Ukraine, gas supply in focus

  • Missiles and shells hit Odessa, Sumy, Mykolaiv
  • Gazprom declares force majeure on gas supply
  • Zelenskiy suspends security chief and prosecutor
  • Hundreds of betrayals, collaboration cases launched

KYIV, July 19 (Reuters) – Russian forces continued their bombardment of cities across Ukraine, with heavy shelling of Sumy in the north, cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odessa in the south, authorities announced on Tuesday.

After failing to capture the capital Kyiv at the start of the February 24 invasion, Russia moved on to a devastating bombing campaign to cement and expand its control over southern and eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says Russian forces stepped up long-range strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians. Moscow says it hits military targets.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia fired more than 3,000 cruise missiles and countless artillery shells during the five-month conflict.

Over the weekend, Zelenskiy suspended the country’s security chief and attorney general, saying they had failed to purge Russian spies from their organizations. Read more

Despite its revelation of Russian SBU penetration, US officials said Monday that Washington would continue to share intelligence that US officials said Kyiv is using to respond to attacks from Moscow. Read more

This week could be crucial for European countries concerned about the impact of war and sanctions on gas supplies.

Russia is due to reopen its main gas pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 1, in the coming days after regular maintenance, but Europeans fear Moscow may keep it closed.

Russia’s Gazprom, which operates the pipeline, told customers in Europe it could not guarantee gas supplies due to “extraordinary” circumstances, according to a letter seen by Reuters, upping the ante in an exchange economy with the West. Read more


In Odessa, a Russian missile strike injured at least four people, burned houses and set fire to other houses, Oleksii Matsulevych, spokesman for the regional administration, said on his Telegram channel.

Russian forces targeted Mykolaiv with cluster shells on Monday, injuring at least two people and damaging windows and roofs of private homes, the Ukrainian city’s mayor, Oleksandr Senkevich, said in a post on social media.

More than 150 mines and shells were fired at the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the head of the Sumy regional military administration, said on Telegram.

“They fired mortars, cannons and rockets. The Russians also opened fire using machine guns and grenade launchers,” he said.

Kyiv hopes the war is at a turning point, with Moscow having exhausted its offensive capabilities by seizing some small towns in the east, while Ukraine now has long-range Western weapons that can strike behind Russian lines .

Kyiv cites a series of successful strikes on 30 Russian logistics and ammunition centers, which it says are crippling Russian artillery-dominated forces that have to transport thousands of shells to the front every day.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, credited US-provided advanced long-range rocket systems, known as HIMARS, with helping to “stabilize the situation” through “major strikes on enemy command points, ammunition and fuel storage”. warehouses.”

Russia said Monday that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the military to focus on destroying Ukrainian rockets and artillery supplied by the West.

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to provide Ukraine with an additional 500 million euros ($504 million) in European arms funds, bringing the bloc’s support to 2.5 billion. euros since the invasion of Moscow on February 24.

To the south, Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to retake the largest swath of territory conquered since the invasion. Ukraine reported destroying Russian missile systems, communications, radars, ammunition depots and armored vehicles in strikes in the southern Kherson region.

In the east, Ukrainian forces withdrew in early July from Lugansk, one of the two provinces claimed by Russia in the name of its separatist auxiliaries.

Kyiv says Moscow is planning another assault to capture the last Ukrainian pocket in neighboring Donetsk province.

President Vladimir Putin has said his assault on Ukraine was a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing Russia’s neighbor and rooting out dangerous nationalists. Kyiv and the West call it an attempt to reclaim a country that broke free from Moscow’s rule in 1991.

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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Jonathan Landay and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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