Ukrainian rocket strike targets Russian ammunition depot

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Internally displaced from Sloviansk, 26-year old Nataliia Tkachenko, holds her 8-month old son Oleksii, on a train leaving to Dnipro, in the Pokrovsk train station, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Many are responding to the authorities’ pleas to evacuate. As Russian troops march west, a steady flow of people continue to evacuate from towns caught in the crosshairs of the war, with hundreds leaving on a daily evacuation train from Pokrovsk. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

AP

A Russian ammunition depot was apparently targeted by Ukrainian forces overnight, resulting in a massive blast captured on social media.

The Ukrainian military’s southern command said the rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of the important Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces.

Video on social media showed a massive explosion. The nature of the strike suggested that Ukrainian forces used U.S-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to strike the area.

Russia’s Tass news agency offered a different account, saying that the target was a mineral fertilizer storage facility that exploded, and that a market, hospital and houses were damaged. Some of the ingredients in fertilizer can be used for ammunition.

Ukrainian authorities also said that Russian fire struck the southern city of Mykolaiv on Tuesday morning, hitting two medical facilities and residential buildings. Four people were wounded in the shelling attack, Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram.

Air raid sirens sounded early Tuesday morning in the western city of Lviv and other areas of Ukraine as Russian forces continued to make advances.

According to a Tuesday intelligence briefing from the British military, Russia is continuing to make “small, incremental gains” in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting led the province’s governor last week to urge its 350,000 remaining residents to move to safer places in western Ukraine.

Yet many in the Donbas, a fertile industrial region in eastern Ukraine made of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, refuse — or are unable — to flee, despite scores of civilians being killed and wounded each week.

The death toll in a Russian rocket attack that struck an apartment building in eastern Ukraine on Saturday has risen to 34. The head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, made the announcement on social media, saying nine wounded people had been recovered from the building in Chasiv Yar.

The British intelligence briefing said Russia had seized the Ukrainian town of Hryhorivka and continued to push toward the Donetsk province cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

“Russian forces are likely maintaining military pressure on Ukrainian forces whilst regrouping and reconstituting for further offensives in the near future,” the intelligence briefing said.

However, Russia may be relying more heavily on private forces, like the Wagner mercenary group, to avoid a general mobilization, the British said.

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Jon Gambrell in Lviv, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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