Russian missiles slam into a Ukrainian city and kill 8 people as the war approaches a critical stage

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Three Russian missiles slammed into a downtown area of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, hitting an eight-floor apartment building and killing at least eight people, local officials said. At least 18 people were injured in the morning attack, the city’s acting mayor Oleksandr Lomako said. Chernihiv lies some 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of the capital, Kyiv, near the border with Russia and Belarus, and has a population of around 250,000 people.

The latest Russian bombardment came as the war stretched into its third year and approached what could be a critical juncture as a lack of further military support from Ukraine’s Western partners increasingly leaves it at the mercy of the Kremlin’s bigger forces. Through the winter months, Russia made no dramatic advance along the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line, focusing instead on attritional warfare.

However, Ukraine’s shortage of artillery ammunition, troops and armoured vehicles has allowed the Russians to gradually push forward, military analysts say. A crucial element for Ukraine is the hold-up in Washington of approval for an aid package that includes roughly USD 60 billion for Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to move the package forward this week. Ukraine’s need is now acute, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.

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“The Russians are breaking out of positional warfare and beginning to restore maneuver to the battlefield because of the delays in the provision of US military assistance to Ukraine,” the ISW said in an assessment late Tuesday. “Ukraine cannot hold the present lines now without the rapid resumption of US assistance, particularly air defense and artillery that only the US can provide rapidly and at scale,” it said.

Ukrainian forces are digging in, building fortifications in anticipation of a major Russian offensive that Kyiv officials say could come as early as next month. Ukraine is using long-range drone and missile strikes behind Russian lines which are designed to disrupt Moscow’s war machine. Russia’s defense ministry said Wednesday a Ukrainian drone was shot down over the Mordovia region, roughly 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Moscow. That is 700 kilometers (430 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian drone developers have been extending the weapons’ range and earlier this month struck a target some 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) east of Ukraine.