jordan pulse -
At least 17 people were killed in a Russian bombing that targeted a commercial market in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, coinciding with a previously unannounced visit by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Kiev, where he announced the provision of new US aid worth more than a billion dollars to support the Ukrainian counterattack. .
The Russian strike came hours after the arrival of Blinken, who reiterated that the United States stands “side by side with Ukraine.”
Surveillance camera images published by Zelensky showed a small, quiet commercial street when suddenly the sound of a projectile echoed, followed by a powerful explosion. In another video, buildings can be seen engulfed in flames.
One survivor told AFP, "Everything was destroyed... and the girls who were selling (in the market) were all killed."
Rescuers searched among the rubble and transported some of the injured for treatment in front of charred vehicles and shops, according to photos published by the authorities.
Interior Minister Igor Klimenko said on the Telegram application, “The search and rescue operation has ended,” noting that 17 people were killed and 32 others were injured.
This town, which had a population of about 70,000 before the Russian attack in early 2022, is located about 30 kilometers from Bakhmut, which witnessed bloody battles with Russian forces more than a year ago.
Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said that a child was among the dead.
For his part, Zelensky stated that Russian militants deliberately targeted the market despite the absence of any military target nearby.
Many countries and international bodies condemned the strike.
The White House condemned the recent "brutal attacks" launched by Russian forces on Ukraine.
US Presidential spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, "These brutal attacks launched by Russia underscore the need to continue supporting the Ukrainian people in defending their lands."
The European Union also denounced the "barbaric" and "heinous" attack launched by Russia on the market.
A European Union spokesman said in a statement, “Russia continues to terrorize civilians in Ukraine,” while German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described “Russia’s aggressive war” against Ukraine, considering it “an attack on international law and humanity.”
Despite the multiple strikes that targeted civilian sites in Ukraine and caused the deaths of many people, Moscow asserts that it systematically targets and destroys exclusively military sites.
Early Wednesday morning, a Russian drone attack killed one person in the Odessa region (southwest), where port infrastructure needed for wheat exports is regularly bombed.
During his meeting with Zelensky, Blinken affirmed Washington’s support for Kiev in its struggle to liberate the occupied territories in the south and east.
“President (Joe) Biden asked me to come to reaffirm our support, and to ensure that we are making every effort,” he said, adding, “We clearly see the important progress that is now being made in the counterattack, and this is very encouraging.”
During his meeting with Blinken, Zelensky warned of a “difficult winter” awaiting Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president said, "There is a difficult winter ahead of us. But we are happy that we are not alone during this winter. We will get through it together with our partners," expressing his thanks to the United States for its assistance to his country in the energy sector, which was subjected to systematic Russian strikes last year.
For his part, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told his American counterpart that American aid to his country is not a “charity” act, but rather makes “restraining Russian aggression” possible.
In this context, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the United States will supply Ukraine with munitions containing depleted uranium, which are effective against tanks and armored vehicles.
In Kiev, Blinken announced new aid from Washington to Ukraine “totaling more than a billion dollars” to confront the Russian attack.
Blinken said, “The United States is committed to giving Ukraine the necessary means to write its future (...) Today, we announce new aid totaling more than a billion dollars,” considering that “American aid will allow the Ukrainian attack to gain greater momentum.”
On Wednesday, the Russian Embassy in Washington considered, in a post on the Telegram application, that the United States’ supply of depleted uranium tank ammunition to Ukraine was “clear evidence of its inhumanity.”
She added, "Washington is obsessed with the idea of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia and is ready to fight not only to the last Ukrainian, but also to eliminate future generations."
The Ukrainian counter-offensive has been progressing with difficulty since June, but Kiev hopes to be close to achieving a breakthrough since its forces took control of the town of Robotny at the end of August, which could open the way to the south and the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Russia has not
recognized Absolutely losing this town.
During his train trip to Kiev, Blinken discussed with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who delivered a speech to the Ukrainian Parliament in the morning.
The American official thanked Frederiksen "for Denmark's leadership" in its decision that it announced two weeks ago in parallel with the Netherlands to supply F-16 fighters to Ukraine.
Zelensky also expressed his "gratitude" to her.
"Edit every inch"
Early Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the destruction of three Ukrainian drones overnight: one over Moscow and two over the Rostov region in the southwest of the country.
Regional Governor Vasily Golubev said on Telegram that “several cars were damaged” in central Rostov, in addition to the facades and windows of some buildings being blackened.
He added that one person was injured but refused to be taken to the hospital to receive treatment.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram that the debris resulting from “an attempted drone attack on Moscow” did not cause damage or injuries, according to initial reports.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Parliament voted by a wide majority to appoint Rustam Omirov, a Tatar from the Crimean Peninsula, as Minister of Defense.
Omerov said on his Facebook page, "I will do everything possible and impossible for Ukraine's victory, when we liberate every inch of our country and every member of our people."
At the age of 41, Omerov succeeded Oleksiy Reznikov, who was one of the faces of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russians, but was affected by corruption scandals within his administration.
His successor has a reputation as a sober and pragmatic negotiator. He will be tasked with negotiating to obtain the Western weapons his country needs to force the Russian army to withdraw.