Russia fires missiles from the Caspian Sea

Destruction after Russian attacks in Nikopol, Ukraine © APA/AFP/-

Russia has fired rockets at Ukraine from the Caspian Sea region, according to sources in Kyiv. Four out of a total of six missiles were intercepted on Saturday over the Dnipro areas in the east and Zaporizhia in the south, the Ukrainian air force said. Two more had hit agricultural land in the central Ukrainian region of Cherkasy. The damage is still being investigated.

In addition to Russia, the South Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan and Central Asian Kazakhstan also border the Caspian Sea. According to the Ukrainian account, long-range bombers of the Tupolev Tu-95 type were used in the shelling. There was initially no confirmation from Moscow.

However, Russia had previously announced that it wanted to expand the attacks on the neighboring country again just under five months after the start of the war. After the air alarm had been triggered throughout Ukraine on Friday, the sirens wailed again in almost all parts of the country on Saturday.

Moscow also confirmed a Russian rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday night, in which three people were killed and 15 injured, according to the Ukrainian authorities. The General Staff in Kyiv announced on Saturday that Ukraine had fended off Russian assault attempts in the Bakhmut direction and in front of Donetsk in the past 24 hours. “After a regrouping, the enemy has resumed the attack on the Wuhlehirsk thermal power plant, the fighting is continuing,” it said.

The military experts at the US-based Institute for the Study of the War (ISW) also saw indications that the fighting was intensifying. There are signs that Russian troops are ending the breather they took after capturing the Sievarodonetsk/Lysychansk conurbation, the ISW analysis said on Saturday. At the moment it is still a matter of minor skirmishes. “If the operational pause is actually over, the Russians will probably continue and intensify their attacks in the next 72 hours,” the experts continued.

Russia has been waging a war of aggression against Ukraine for almost five months. After initial failures in the north of the country, the Russian troops were later able to gain ground through massive use of artillery in the Donbass and reported the conquest of the Luhansk region, which was symbolically important for Moscow. Due to the use of the Himars rocket launchers by the Ukrainian side, however, the Russian military had to accept serious setbacks in the past two weeks because high-ranking command points as well as ammunition and weapons depots in the occupied hinterland were destroyed.

According to British intelligence experts, information about Russian successes should be treated with caution. Russia has repeatedly made false statements about alleged successes in its invasion of Ukraine, the Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence update on the Ukraine war said in London on Saturday. The scope and scale of Russian advances remain limited. The statement made by the Russians a few days ago that they had advanced into the city of Siwersk was not true.

“Russia has also previously made hasty and false claims of achievements,” the statement said. The reason for this is probably at least in part the desire to demonstrate successes to the population at home and to strengthen the morale of their own troops.

The Ukrainians, on the other hand, have successfully repelled Russian attacks since withdrawing from the city of Lysychansk, according to British experts. The line of defense has since been shortened and strengthened, which proved essential to thwart the Russian offensive.