Russia strikes Kyiv region as Ukraine drives counteroffensive in Kherson
Russian missiles struck the Kyiv region for the first time in several weeks on Thursday as Ukrainian forces continued their counteroffensive to retake the southern region of Kherson.
Driving the news: Earlier this month, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby warned that U.S. intelligence indicated that Russia was "reviewing detailed plans" to annex four regions of Ukraine, including Kherson.
- Russian forces captured Kherson in the early days of the war, and Ukrainian officials have been warning for months that Russia's shadow government in the region has been issuing Russian passports, mandating the use of the Russian ruble, and potentially planning a "referendum" on joining Russia, Axios' Dave Lawler writes.
State of play: The missile strikes on Kyiv, launched from a site on the Black Sea, wounded 15 people, five of them civilians, AP reported.
- The missiles damaged a total of 48 structures in the Kyiv area, Kyiv regional Govorner Oleksiy Kuleba wrote in a Telegram post Thursday. A strike in Vyshgorod, north of Kyiv, damaged some military infrastructure, he added in another post.
- "Russia, with the help of missiles, is mounting revenge for the widespread popular resistance, which the Ukrainians were able to organize precisely because of their statehood," Kuleba told Ukrainian television, per AP.
- Russian missiles also rained down on the northern region of Chernihiv on Thursday for the first time in weeks, AP reported.
The big picture: Ukrainian forces, which in recent weeks have retaken some settlements on Kherson's northern edge, struck multiple Russian strongholds around the city of Kherson and another nearby city on Thursday, Reuters reported.
- An intelligence update by the U.K. Ministry of Defense on Wednesday noted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson was "gaining momentum" and had damaged several bridges that were critical to Russian efforts to resupply their troops.
- "Russia's 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now looks highly vulnerable," the update added. The city of Kherson, it said, is now "virtually cut off" from the other territories occupied by Russia.
Yes, but: Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych warned this week that Russia was conducting a "massive redeployment" of forces from Ukraine's east to the south, Reuters reported.
- Russia's Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it had struck a Ukrainian infantry brigade in the north of the Kherson region, killing more than 130 Ukrainian soldiers in the last 24 hours, per Reuters.
- Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration for the Kherson region, told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that, "all these counter-offensives that result in a large number of Ukrainian casualties are coming to nothing," Reuters reported.
Go deeper: Dashboard: Russian invasion of Ukraine