Russia Pounds Ukraine, Targeting Supply of Western Arms (“Part 1”)

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Russia has said its military may target Western arms supplies to Ukraine, where Russian forces have been advancing since late February.  Ukraine calls on the West to increase arms supplies ahead of Donbass campaign. The arrival of Western weapons in Ukraine helped Ukrainian forces break Moscow’s initial advance and certainly played a central role in the battle for the Donbas, which Moscow now claims is its target due to its failure to capture Kyiv in the country. 

As parts of Ukraine came under attack again, Belarus, which Russia used as a base for its invasion, announced the start of military exercises on Wednesday. After the recent withdrawal of Russian troops from positions around Kyiv, the front of the triple Russian military invasion began on February 24.

Russia launched what Russia calls the second phase of its offensive, focusing on the northern Donbas and its efforts to reduce the Russian-speaking population. Donetsk and Lugansk regions from the rest of Ukraine. The Russian military said on Wednesday that sea- and air-launched missiles had destroyed power plants at five railway stations across Ukraine, while artillery and aircraft also hit troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.

Complaining that the West is “stuffing Ukraine with weapons,” Russia bombarded railroad stations and other supply-line targets across the country, as the European Union moved to further punish Moscow for the war Wednesday by proposing a ban on oil imports.

Heavy fighting also raged at the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol which represented the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined southern port city, according to the mayor. A Russian official denied that Moscow’s troops were storming the plant, but the commander of the main Ukrainian military unit inside said Russian troops had broken into the mill’s territory.

The Russian military also said it used sea- and air-launched missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine, while artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.  “lacrossetribune.com

Russian forces have hit targets inside Ukraine, battering foreign arms supply lines in the west and stepping up their offensive in the east, as the European Union moved Wednesday to further punish Moscow for its so-called oil import ban.

Two days after the offensive, Berlin said it would provide 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles, in violation of its policy against arms exports to conflict zones. Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said the attack on five Ukrainian train stations was aimed at disrupting Western arms shipments.

The defense minister warned were legitimate targets. Discussing the Pentagon’s assessment, a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while the Russians tried to target critical infrastructure around Lviv, especially the railroad, it “had no discernible impact on Ukraine’s efforts to replenish its forces.

Russia has said its troops could target supplies of Western weapons in Ukraine, where the Russian army has been advancing since late February.

“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state television on Saturday.

He said Moscow had warned, “about the consequences of the thoughtless transfer to Ukraine of weapons like man-portable air defense systems, anti-tank missile systems and so on”. Ryabkov said Washington had not taken Moscow’s warnings seriously and added that Russia and the United States were not holding any “negotiation processes” on Ukraine.  “aljazeera.com

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