Russia has launched drone, missile, and air strikes on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities ahead of its upcoming Victory Day holiday celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany. Ukrainian air defences claimed to have destroyed all 35 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia.
Five people were reported injured in the capital Kyiv, while a food warehouse in the Black Sea city of Odesa was set ablaze by a missile, leaving three people wounded.
Ukrainian officials have reported that the attacks were among the largest volleys of missiles and drones in a renewed Russian air campaign since early March.
Ukraine has claimed that Moscow is making a final push to capture the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut, which would be President Vladimir Putin’s only prize for a costly Russian winter offensive.
Moscow is preparing for Tuesday’s Victory Day parade, which is the most important day in the calendar for Russia under Putin. Ukraine has proclaimed May 8 to be Victory Day to separate its observance of the day from that of Russia.
The Russian winter offensive has been largely unsuccessful, with Moscow losing significant military hardware, resulting in cancelled or curtailed military parades for Victory Day.
Western countries believe this is due to security concerns and the extent of military losses in Ukraine, which has seen the most intense ground combat in Europe since World War II.
Ukrainian ground forces commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi has stated that the Russians still hope to capture the city of Bakhmut by May 9 and that the Ukrainian military’s task is to prevent this.
As the situation in Ukraine continues to escalate, it remains to be seen how Russia will respond to Ukraine’s defensive efforts and what impact this will have on the ongoing conflict.