The Kiev counter-offensive on Russian territory, and the high tension in the Kaliningrad region, raise the bar of a conflict that risks extending with the possible involvement of Lithuania, formally threatened by Moscow. Vilnius does not knock on the door of Brussels as Ukraine is doing, it has already accommodated itself since 2004, and a military response from Putin, after the restrictions on the transit of goods, could trigger an even more concrete reaction from the West. For his part, the Kremlin leader must “collect” a couple of raids by Commander Muzenko’s men. One of the largest oil refineries in southern Russia, the Novoshakhtinsk (Rostov) plant, was hit yesterday morning by a drone that caused a vast fire. The Ukrainian army carried out a second blitz in the Vladimir region, destroying an ammunition depot and causing 5 deaths.
On the 119th day of the war, however, the Donbass is always the epicenter of the fighting. Moscow is preparing to send a large number of reserve units, while the militias present are trying to surround the Severodonetsk region. In Izyim a mortar round killed 5 women. Russian soldiers are advancing from all directions to be able to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and create an overland corridor to the Crimea. The locality of Lysychansk (10 km southwest of Severodonetsk) is at great risk, where troops from Moscow have already entered neighboring villages to attack the city with air forces, tanks and artillery. This was reported by the head of the military administration of Luhansk Gaidai, who spoke of three civilians and numerous injured policemen, and underlined how the Russians are trying to block the Ukrainian defense forces on the eastern front line. According to what the Russian government claims, the whole area would have been conquered and about 1,500 soldiers from Kiev surrounded.
Russian troops continued bombing also on the Kharkiv region, where the districts of Slobidsky and Industrial were hit by night bombings, while in the morning that of Nemyshlyany attacked. According to fragmentary information, there are three dead and four injured. Kharkiv is the city where two American citizens accused of being mercenaries in the pay of Kiev were captured on 17 June. Moscow confirmed that it had received a message from Washington regarding their whereabouts. Deputy Foreign Minister Riabkov said that the Russian authorities “are discussing the issue”. The invaders also continue to fire on the border areas of the Sumy region, where four people were injured as a result of the kamikaze drone attacks. The bombings damaged homes, farm buildings, a school and a village council. In one of the locations, a public park was also bombed and destroyed.
The situation is chaotic in the areas close to the Black Sea. Yesterday a civilian died after being hit by a cluster bomb during an attack on the city of Mykolaiv. No more than 50 km to the north, Russian troops struck several villages in the Bashtanka district with artillery fire, injuring six people. Odessa was attacked by Moscow jets which then damaged some infrastructure in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia. The naval group of the Russian fleet would also be ready to fire 44 cruise missiles.