Dec 11, 2022 - World

Ukraine strikes key Russian-occupied city of Melitopol

The Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine in October 2022.

The Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine in October. Photo: Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine struck the southern Russian-occupied city of Melitopol on Saturday, according to Ukrainian and Russian-backed officials.

Why it matters: Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, said on social media 200 Russians were killed or injured, while Russia's installed regional governor, Yevgeny Balitsky, said two died and 10 were injured in the attack.

  • Balitsky said Ukraine launched six missiles, two of which were shot down by air defense systems.
  • Russia has held Melitopol, a key industrial and transport center in southern Ukraine, since March.

What they're saying: Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a video interview on social media that Melitopol is central to Russia's defense of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, which it claimed to have annexed in October.

  • "All logistics linking the Russian forces on the eastern part of the Kherson region and all the way to the Russian border near Mariupol is carried out through it," Arestovych said Sunday, according to a translation from Reuters.
  • "If Melitopol falls, the entire defense line all the way to Kherson collapses. Ukrainian forces gain a direct route to Crimea."

The big picture: Explosions were also reported in Russian-occupied Crimea, including Sevastopol and Simferopol.

  • Russia also struck the Ukrainian port city of Odesa with Iranian-made drones, hitting critical infrastructure in the city and leaving 1.5 million people without electricity, Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday.

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