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Russian drones light Black Sea hotel on fire

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian drones attacked the Black Sea city of Mykolaiv early Sunday, setting a hotel on fire and damaging energy infrastructure, Ukrainian officials said. Meanwhile, military commanders have warned of a worsening situation as troops wait for much-needed weapons from the behemoth. US aid package to reach the front lines.

Vitaly Kim, the governor of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, said a Russian drone “caused significant damage” to a hotel in the capital of the same name and started a fire that was later extinguished. Kim also reported that the strike damaged heat-generating infrastructure in the city. He added that there were no casualties.

Russia’s state agency RIA reported that the attack on Mykolaiv targeted a shipyard where naval drones are assembled and a hotel where “English-speaking mercenaries” who fought for Kiev are staying. The RIA report names Sergei Lebedev, an alleged coordinator of local pro-Moscow guerrillas. His comments could not be independently verified.

Russian drones attacked Mykolaiv and set fire to a hotel. via Reuters

Also on Sunday, the Ukrainian military commander reported that the battlefield situation in Kiev is deteriorating and that Ukrainian forces are retreating tactically along three sectors of the front in the East Donetsk region. In a post on the messaging app Telegram, Col. Oleksandr Shirushkyi said Russian forces were continuing to attack “along the entire front” of more than 1,000 kilometers, and heavy fighting continued west of the city of Avdiivka.

The Washington-based think tank said the Russian military is “likely to make significant tactical advances in the coming weeks” while Kiev waits for desperately needed weapons from the United States.

In its latest operational assessment, the Institute for War Studies says Moscow’s forces have no opportunity to advance around the eastern city of Avdiivka, which they captured in late February after months of intense fighting, and threaten nearby Chassiv Yar. He said there is.

Capturing this area would give Russia control of the hilltop from which it could attack other major cities that form the backbone of Ukraine’s eastern defenses.

Nevertheless, the think tank assessed that none of these efforts by Moscow are likely to cause Kiev’s defenses to collapse “in the short term.”

Destroyed cars and damaged residential buildings are seen at the scene of a Russian missile attack during Russia's attack on Ukraine in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, March 17, 2024.
Destroyed cars and damaged residential buildings are seen at the scene of a Russian missile attack during Russia’s attack on Ukraine in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, March 17, 2024. via Reuters

US President Biden on Wednesday signed a $95 billion bill (of which $61 billion is earmarked for Ukraine) that also includes aid to Israel, Taiwan and the rest of the world, and within hours begins US arms shipments to Ukraine. I promised. hotspot.

The announcement marked the end of a long and bitter battle with Congressional Republicans over urgently needed aid to Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Sunday that Moscow’s forces had captured a village about 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of Avdiivka, days after the Institute of War Research reported the possible capture early Thursday.

The assessment said Russian advances were “relatively rapid, but still relatively small,” adding that Russian forces had advanced only 5 kilometers (3 miles) compared to the previous week.

Also on Sunday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that 17 Ukrainian drones were shot down overnight over four regions in southwestern Ukraine.

Three drones were intercepted near an oil depot in the industrial city of Lyudinovo, about 230 kilometers north of the Ukrainian border, Governor Vladislav Shapsha said.

A Ukrainian drone damaged communications infrastructure in Russia’s southern Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, Governor Vyachaslav Gladkov said late Sunday. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed on Sunday that the Russian military had destroyed ammunition depots and military equipment stored at three airports across Ukraine, including an attack drone stored at Kamyanka airfield in eastern Ukraine.

The attacks occurred in the past 24 hours, according to the ministry’s online updates. There was no immediate comment from Kiev.

Russian shelling on Saturday injured at least seven civilians across Ukraine overnight, Ukrainian officials said.

A 36-year-old woman was pulled alive from the rubble after her home was destroyed by Russian shells in northeastern Kharkiv region on Sunday morning, the local administration reported.

Her 52-year-old neighbor was also rushed to the hospital with a stomach wound, authorities said.