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Russia masses rocket systems at Belarus airfield near Ukraine

16.08.2022 11:00
Russia has concentrated a large number of rocket systems at the Zyabrovka airfield in Belarus, indicating possible preparation for an attack on Ukraine, according to Belarusian opposition activists.
A satellite image of the main runway of the Zyabrovka Airfield in Homel, southern Belarus, August 12, 2022.
A satellite image of the main runway of the Zyabrovka Airfield in Homel, southern Belarus, August 12, 2022.PAP/EPA/Maxar Technologies

Belarusian Hajun, an independent monitoring group, on Monday night said that “Russia has accumulated a large number of anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as between 15 and 60 missiles, at the Zyabrovka airfield,” the Ukrainska Pravda website reported.

The Zyabrovka airfield is located in the southern Belarusian region of Homel, which borders Ukraine, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Ship carries Ukrainian wheat to Ethiopia

The first ship carrying humanitarian food relief for Africa has departed from the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi, news outlets reported on Tuesday, citing Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry.

The vessel is carrying 23,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat to food-starved Ethiopia, the PAP news agency said. 

Ukraine repelling Russian attacks in Luhansk region

Meanwhile, Ukrainska Pravda said on Tuesday that “Russian forces are mounting a large-scale offensive from the Lysychansk Oil Refinery [in eastern Ukraine] but the Ukrainian Defence Forces are holding the line.”

The website quoted Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Region Military Administration, as saying that "the enemy is shelling [Ukrainian] towns and villages and the positions of  Ukrainian troops using artillery. Last night alone, [the Russians] delivered four tank attacks and four airstrikes.”

Haidai added that the Russians were "continuing to terrorise [Luhansk Oblast] with their missiles" and that "one of the enemy missiles targeted the building of the Luhansk Oblast Police Department, which is currently based in the neighbouring region."

Ukrainska Pravda reported that the Ukrainian army on Monday "forced the Russians to retreat six times.”

Fighting was still in progress in three areas "on the administrative border between Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, in particular in the vicinity of the Lysychansk Oil Refinery,” the website added. 

Major attack on Kharkiv: officials

There was a large-scale attack on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv overnight, Ukrainska Pravda also reported. 

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, was quoted as saying that "one of the largest attacks on Kharkiv" in recent weeks "took place overnight."

Around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, the Russians "fired on the Kyivskyi district of Kharkiv using MLRS" multiple-launch rocket systems, "damaging private houses and hitting the road surface,” according to Syniehubov.

Syniehubov added: “Around 2:30 a.m., the Defence Staff reported the launch of seven rockets from Belgorod [in Russia] on Kharkiv. Shevchenkivskyi, Kyivskyi, Saltivskyi, Industrialnyi and Kholodnohirskyi neighbourhoods were hit.”

He announced that “some of the rockets hit the open territories and didn’t cause any fire; fragments of their shells, as well as the blast wave, damaged building facades and road surface.”

Early reports indicated that there were no casualties, Syniehubov said.

'Further division within Russian-led forces': ISW 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that “elements of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) militia reportedly refused to continue fighting in Donetsk Oblast and complained about the grueling pace of offensives outside of Luhansk Oblast.”

In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Monday night, the US think tank said that “the emotional significance of recent Russian targets in Donetsk Oblast resonates with audiences in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), but not with LNR audiences tired of grueling offensives beyond their claimed borders.”

According to the US experts, this is part of a larger trend of “diminished LNR investment in and morale to support the Russian war in Ukraine.”

This trend "is particularly dangerous to Russian forces seeking to recruit still more new soldiers from Luhansk Oblast to make up for recent losses,” the ISW said. 

The think tank added that “further division within Russian-led forces also threatens to further impede the efficiency of the Russian war effort.”

Moreover, “DNR units have previously recorded similar appeals when operating in Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Kherson Oblasts, which may indicate that proxy troops might not fully support the Kremlin’s expansive invasion plans,” the US experts said.

Frontline developments

Reviewing the latest events on the ground, the ISW reported that Russian forces “attempted several limited ground assaults northwest of Slovyansk” and conducted “multiple offensive operations east and southeast of Siversk and northeast and southeast of Bakhmut.”

Also in the eastern Donetsk region, Russian troops “continued conducting offensive operations northwest, west, and southwest of Donetsk City,” the think tank said.

Meanwhile, Russian forces "conducted a limited ground assault north of Kharkiv City” in northeastern Ukraine, the US experts said.

The ISW also reported that “Russian and Ukrainian forces continued to trade accusations of shelling the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant.”

It added that “St. Petersburg authorities officially denied summoning local men to military recruitment and enlistment centres for discussions of contract service.”

Meanwhile, “Russian occupation authorities continued preparations for the integration of occupied territories of Ukraine into Russia,” the US analysts said.

Tuesday is day 174 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, pravda.com.uaunderstandingwar.org