A Russian missile struck the eastern Ukrainian town of Kostiantynivka on Wednesday, killing 16 civilians hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv to demonstrate “the United States’ unwavering commitment to sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy of Ukraine”.
At least one of those killed was a child and at least 20 people were injured in the attack on a downtown market, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. At least 20 other people were injured in this city of more than 65,000 inhabitants, located about 650 kilometers east of kyiv. Kostiantynivka is in the Donetsk region, where Russia has focused much of its military effort as it seeks to take control of Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region.
“A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who didn’t do anything wrong,” Zelensky said on social media, adding that the death toll and injuries could rise. “This Russian evil must be defeated as quickly as possible.”
Blinken’s visit, which includes a meeting with Zelensky, comes amid concerns over the long-awaited but slowly progressing counteroffensive in Ukraine, which began nearly three months ago. Blinken, speaking in Kyiv, said the United States was committed to working with its allies to help Ukraine strengthen its economy and democracy.
“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in its counter-offensive, but also what it needs in the long term, to ensure that it has a strong deterrent force” , Blinken said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Western aid would not change the outcome of the war, although he acknowledged that the United States was ready to “fight this war to the last Ukrainian. , without sparing any expense. This is how we see it. We know it. “
∎ A British Challenger 2 tank was destroyed by Russian artillery in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian crew survived, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed to Sky News on Wednesday. It was the first Challenger 2 tank destroyed during the war, he said, adding that Britain had “gifted” Ukraine with 14 high-tech tanks.
∎ Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of orchestrating Zelensky’s rise in Ukraine because an ethnic Jew is “covering up the anti-human nature” of modern Ukraine. Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko dismissed Putin’s comment as “another manifestation of deep-rooted anti-Semitism in Russia’s elite.”
Is Putin desperate in Ukraine?Contacts with North Korea highlight arms shortage
New defense minister reflects ‘serious stance against corruption’
Ukraine’s parliament on Wednesday officially approved Zelensky’s appointment of Rustem Umerov, replacing the resignation of Oleksii Reznikov. The change “sends a signal to the world that Ukraine is taking a serious stand against corruption,” said Mary Kate Schneider, director of global studies at Loyola University in Maryland. Pervasive corruption is one of the main reasons why Ukraine’s NATO and EU membership remains “a distant prospect”, she said. Renikov’s ministry was dogged by charges of bribery and bribery in military contracts, and keeping him in that role would have been politically costly, Schneider told USA TODAY.
Schneider added that Reznikov’s sacking comes weeks after Russian mercenary leader Eugene Prigozhin died in a suspicious plane crash, and that the timing suggests Zelensky wanted to “capitalize on contrast” and clean house.
A meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin is just one clue that the The Russian president may be growing increasingly worried as Moscow’s war in Ukraine enters its 18th month. As Ukraine makes limited progress in its counteroffensive, Russian troops in Ukraine’s hotly contested southern coastal area are suppressing an apparent resurgence of national patriotism, launching surprise checks and propaganda efforts to avoid a possible revolt, a senior official of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said Monday.
“I think that says a lot about the fact that Russia needs to look to a country like North Korea to look to bolster its defense capability in a war that it hoped would end in a week,” he said. national security adviser Jake Sullivan told a White House conference. Tuesday briefing. Read more here.
− Josh Meyers