(Kyiv) The Russian occupation administration said on Wednesday that Melitopol, one of the main cities in southern Ukraine occupied by Russia, was hit by rockets from the Ukrainian army, causing power cuts.
Melitopol is the capital of the Russian occupation in the part of the Zaporizhia region that it controls. This region is also home to the eponymous nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces, and where the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is expected on Wednesday.
In recent days, Russia has accused Ukraine of increasing attacks and strikes in Melitopol, where 150,000 people lived before the war. According to the city’s occupation administration, the dawn strikes on Wednesday hit a locomotive depot, with no injuries.
An occupation official, Vladimir Rogov, added on Telegram that the bombardment was carried out using Himars, a high-precision American mobile rocket launcher system. The city is located more than 65 km from the front.
“Because of the fire from Kyiv fighters, electricity supply infrastructure was damaged. Electricity distribution in Melitopol and several surrounding villages is interrupted,” he added.
On the Ukrainian side, the exiled mayor of the city, Ivan Fedorov, also reported explosions on Wednesday, saying he hoped “good news” from the Ukrainian armed forces as to the targets targeted.
Russia had previously accused Ukraine of strikes on Melitopol on March 27. On March 23, she accused Kyiv of a pipe bomb attack that injured a policeman and on March 15 an occupation official was killed in a car bomb attack.
For several weeks, speculation has been rife as to a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive in the direction of Melitopol, because an advance in its direction and its capture would cut the land corridor conquered by Russia to connect its territory to the Crimea, peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.
To be able to inflict new defeats on Russia, however, Ukraine requires longer range ammunition than that which it has had so far for the Himars, in order to be able to destroy Russian supply routes and warehouses.
So far, the rockets it has had have a maximum range of 80 km. The United States has promised ammunition that can fly 150 km and according to Moscow these have already been delivered.
Kyiv, for its part, has not confirmed and claims to need many more Western armaments of this type and tanks.
Ukraine has already led successful counter-offensives. That of the autumn in the south which enabled the recapture of Kherson in November had been preceded by strikes by Himars and attacks targeting occupation officials.