Home » Ukraine claims gains near Kherson as UK sends anti-aircraft missiles

Ukraine claims gains near Kherson as UK sends anti-aircraft missiles

by Mahmmod Shar

UK to send Amraam rockets, capable of shooting down cruise missiles

Ukraine’s army boasted of territorial gains near the strategically vital southern city of Kherson on Wednesday as Nato allies including the UK delivered new air defence systems in the wake of Russia’s recent missile attacks across the country.

After 48 hours of Ukrainian cities coming under heavy fire, the government in Kyiv could celebrate positive news from both the frontlines and its diplomatic efforts to secure ground-to-air systems, including anti-aircraft weapons from the UK.

Five settlements in the Beryslav district in the north-east of the Kherson region – Novovasylivka, Novogrygorivka, Nova Kamyanka, Tryfonivka, Chervone – were said to have been taken from Russian forces over the day.

Kherson was the first city to fall to Russia following the invasion on 24 February and it is a crucial strategic and symbolic target for Ukraine’s southern counterattack.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, lauded the arrival of the first of four Iris-T defence systems from Germany and an “expedited” delivery of the sophisticated national advanced surface-to-air missile systems (Nasams) from the US.

“A new era of air defence has begun in Ukraine,” Reznikov tweeted. “Iris-Ts from Germany are already here. Nasams are coming. This is only the beginning. And we need more.”

National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (Nasams) are on their way to Ukraine from the US. Photograph: Toms Kalniņš/EPA

The UK has said it will donate cutting edge air defence weaponry, capable of shooting down cruise missiles

It did not say how many of the Amraam rockets would be sent to Ukraine, but said they would be used with Nasams.

Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, said: “Russia’s latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation. So today I have authorised the supply of Amraam anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defence alongside the US Nasams.”

Russia fired more than 80 cruise missiles and 24 drones into Ukraine during the morning rush hour on Monday and continued to attack cities and critical infrastructure across the country on Tuesday.

Vladimir Putin had suggested in remarks following the mass strikes that the attacks were a response to the explosions on the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula illegally annexed by the Kremlin in 2014.

On Wednesday the Kremlin said eight people had been detained over the attack on the bridge. Russia’s security forces named a senior figure from Ukraine as being behind them, a claim dismissed in Kyiv as “nonsense”.

Half of the drones and missiles fired into Ukraine’s cities on Monday and Tuesday were shot down but dozens hit their targets, killing 20 people and highlighting the weakness of the country’s air defence.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, conceded that the strikes had badly affected the country’s electricity network as he appealed to citizens and businesses to reduce their electricity consumption during peak hours to avoid blackouts.

He called for people to reduce power consumption from 5pm to 10pm across Ukraine by 25% in order to stabilise the power system.

He said: “We are grateful to all Ukrainians who deliberately reduced electricity consumption yesterday and the night before yesterday.

“The total saving was 10%. We also thank the heads of regions, heads of communities, who took a responsible approach and cut power consumption in communities.

“The minimum permissible indoor temperature this winter will be 16 degrees celsius, while the average temperature will be 18 degrees. This is a necessity and this is our contribution to the victory. After all, it depends on each of us how we will get through this winter.”

The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, stated that other Nato members were looking to provide more ground-to-air defenses to protect against Russia’s “indiscriminate” attacks across the country prior to a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels.

“We will talk about how to step up support for Ukraine, and more air defense for Ukraine will be the top priority,” he said.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Kajsa Ollongren, the minister of defense, announced that her country would give Ukraine air defenses worth €15 million (£13 million). Only unwavering support for Ukraine and its people will be able to counter these attacks, she wrote.

However, according to Western sources, the allies do not have enough equipment to give to Ukraine.

Even though the government claimed that the Russians were still heavily shelling the southern frontlines, the Ukrainian forces’ continued advancement in the Kherson region is a significant boost.

According to a senior Nato official, Russia’s industry was unable to produce a number of essential types of ammunition and weapon systems as a result of western sanctions, and during its invasion, it used up a sizable portion of its stock of precision-guided ammunition.

According to Reuters, the official stated he was unsure of how long it would take Russia to mobilize the 300,000 troops Moscow is aiming for, but he did say it might take several months.

Putin recently announced the annexation of four regions: Kherson, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Luhansk. This action was denounced as being against international law. However, fighting is still going on in those areas.

The governor of the eastern Donetsk region reported on Wednesday that a Russian strike on a busy market in the town of Avdiivka resulted in at least seven fatalities and eight injuries.

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