- Without providing evidence, Shoigu said Ukraine could escalate with a “dirty bomb” – conventional explosives laced with radioactive material.
- Cars were crushed under rubble, Reuters witnessed.
- After a minute or two, there was a second loud blast.
Russia destroyed an apartment building in the shipbuilding city of Mykolaiv on Sunday as a result of pressure from the south of Ukraine, declaring that the conflict was heading toward “uncontrolled escalation.”
Nearly 60,000 people have been told by Russia to leave the southern province of Kherson in order to “save your lives” due to a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Mykolaiv is located about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of the front line to occupied Kherson.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke with Turkish and French counterparts over the “rapidly deteriorating situation,” according to the ministry. Shoigu has been criticized by some Russian nationalists for Moscow’s defeats during the invasion on February 24.
Shoigu asserted that Ukraine may escalate with a “dirty bomb”—conventional explosives loaded with radioactive material—without offering any supporting data.
While Russia has stated that it could defend Russian territory with its nuclear arsenal, Ukraine does not.
The top story of an apartment building in Mykolaiv was destroyed by a Russian missile strike on Sunday, shattering windows and fracturing walls as it sent shrapnel and rubble over a square and into nearby buildings. Reuters saw cars buried by debris and crushed. There were no fatalities reported.
“I tried to exit after the first blast, but the door was jammed. A second thunderous boom occurred a few minutes later.” Oleksandr Mezinov, 50, who was roused from his sleep by the explosions, claimed that our door was blasted into the hallway.
Russian “kamikaze” drones were shot down by Ukraine over Mykolaiv overnight, regional governor Vitaliy Kim reported on Telegram. This month, the drones, which are engineered to blow up upon hit, have pounded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Kim claimed that Russia launched S-300 missile attacks as well, one of which struck the five-story residential complex.
Prior to an anticipated battle for Kherson, the regional capital on the west bank of the Dnipro river, Russian troops have withdrawn from portions of the front in recent weeks, and occupation authorities are transferring inhabitants farther into Russian-held territory. The entrance to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, is near Kherson.
“The situation today is difficult. It’s vital to save your lives,” Russian Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov said in a video message. “It won’t be for long. You will definitely return,” he added.
One man was killed and three injured after a blast in the city, a Russian state news agency said. Emergency services said an improvised explosive device was detonated near a car in the city.
Russia-installed authorities there reported a shortage of vessels to ferry people across the river at one point on Sunday, blaming a “sharp increase in the number of people wishing to leave.”
Around 25,000 people have been evacuated since Tuesday, the Interfax news agency said.
The troops of Ukraine claimed to be making progress in the south, gaining control of at least two settlements that they claimed Russia had abandoned.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the reports.
Russian missile and drone assaults on civilian infrastructure have increased in response to Ukrainian advances in recent weeks around Kherson and in the country’s northeast, destroying about 40% of Ukraine’s power system just ahead of winter.
Winter misery looms
The Nova Kakhovka dam, which contains about the same amount of water as the Great Salt Lake in the U.S. state of Utah, has been accused of being set up for destruction by both Russia and Ukraine. Its breach might cause Kherson and most of southern Ukraine to flood.
Both sides have made accusations regarding the dam, which feeds water to Crimea and the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, but neither has provided proof to support those claims.
The two pilots were killed after a Russian military airplane collided with a residential building on Sunday in the Siberian city of Irkutsk in Russia’s far east, dealing another blow to Moscow. This was the second tragic accident involving a Sukhoi fighter plane in the previous six days.
Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, were “extremely vast” in scope. He promised that, with assistance from its allies, his military will strengthen an already strong track record of shooting down missiles.
Winter was coming, and with the conflict set to enter its ninth month, the possibility of cold agony loomed.
According to presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko, more than a million people were without electricity. According to a city official, strikes might cause Kyiv to go without heat and electricity for days or weeks.
Moscow has confirmed that it is targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, but it denies that it is also targeting civilians in what it refers to as a “special military operation.”
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