Ukrainian military attack leaves 54 Russian soldiers dead, 3 tanks destroyed, government says

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Ukraine’s military delivered a successful attack on a Russian ammunition depot in Southern Ukraine Saturday night, leaving 54 Russian soldiers dead and destroying at least three tanks.

Operational Command “South” announced the assault on three Russian T-62 tanks, three “Grad” MRLS, one Msta-B howitzer, and other armored and military vehicles, the Kyiv Independent reported.

The attack occurred on the 150th day of the Russia-Ukraine War — which many experts believed would only last 48 hours or two weeks at its longest — as Ukraine is advancing through the Kherson region to recapture its territory.

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“The occupiers tried to gain a foothold there [in Kherson], their collaborators made various brazen statements, which in Russian are called the very apt word ‘shapkozakidatelstvo’ (false forecasts)… But how did it help them? The Armed Forces of Ukraine are advancing step by step in the region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a nightly address.

The attack comes as Russia delivered a missile attack on Odesa, also in Southern Ukraine, which may further devastate negotiations, Zelenskyy said.

“Today’s Russian missile attack on Odesa, on our port, is a cynical one, and it was also a blow to the political positions of Russia itself,” Zelenskyy said. “If anyone in the world could still say that some kind of dialogue with it, with Russia, some kind of agreements are needed, see what is happening. Today’s Russian Kalibr missiles have destroyed the very possibility for such statements.”

“And we see the absolute unanimity of the world’s reaction to this strike. The occupiers can no longer deceive anyone. Among other things, as a result of this strike, the building of the Odesa Art Museum was also damaged. The missiles hit very close to the historical objects of Odesa – something that is an asset not only for Ukrainian culture, but also for the culture of Europe,” he added.

“This apparent Russian barbarism brings us even closer to obtaining the very weapons we need for our victory,” he said.

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The attack also comes as the international community made several gestures to helping Ukraine this weekend: President Joe Biden and the United States Congress announced $270 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine, including four High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, 580 Phoenix Ghost drones, and additional anti-armor weapons, and other equipment and vehicles.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith also visited Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and met with Zelesnkyy; while Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also spoke with the Ukrainian leader over the phone.

UK’s Boris Johnson visited a training site where Ukrainian soldiers are being trained by the British Armed Forces and NATO announced additional reinforcements to its own eastern border.

“In general, in these almost five months, we have achieved such large-scale and diplomatic support for Ukraine that Russia will not be able to oppose it,” Zelenskyy said.

He concluded: “The day will come when missiles will lose their meaning for the occupiers. Now, it is possible to shoot down some of the missiles. The goal is to shoot down each one. And we will do everything necessary to still get modern and effective air defense systems. It’s our goal.”

Russia first invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Negotiations to end the war have mostly stalled, despite continued international pressure and sanctions on Russia.

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