Ukraine update: Kyiv reports Russia stepped up attacks on civilian targets

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Kyiv officials said on Tuesday that Russian shelling hit several civilian targets in northeastern Ukraine overnight, causing numerous fires in the town of Vovchansk, including one at a hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Emergency crews evacuated eight civilians from the site before putting out the blaze. Local authorities said that there were no casualties reported.

Elsewhere, an estimated 60,000 households were left without water following a night of Russian shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that cut off the power supply to a local pumping station.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff said Tuesday that Russia launched six missiles and two dozen air attacks in addition to 75 shelling incidents on civilian targets in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kherson.


The U.K.’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday continued to express skepticism that Moscow is capable of mounting a significant new offensive in the coming weeks. The Ministry pointed out in its daily assessment of the war that Russian forces have thus far only managed to make incremental advances in the last Ukrainian-held territory in the Donetsk Oblast, the capture of which it said is the Kremlin’s current “operational goal.” The Ministry cited Moscow’s dwindling munitions and combat units as chief among the reasons that Russia has thus far failed in this objective.

As the war moves closer to the one-year mark on Feb. 24, Russian military commanders are under intense pressure to deliver “unrealistic objectives” with “undermanned, inexperienced units,” per the report, leading intelligence officials to conclude that it is “unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the coming weeks.”


Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Tuesday that he is ready to resume negotiations with Turkey over his country’s pending NATO accession as he sought to defuse tensions with Ankara over anti-Muslim protests.

Turkey has been slow-walking formal approval for the Swedish and Finnish NATO bids, which were made shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, chiefly over Ankara’s assertions that both nations had harbored Kurdish rebels it considers to be terrorists. Talks between Sweden and Turkey came to an abrupt halt last month, however, over an anti-Muslim protest held outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed fury that Swedish authorities did nothing to break up the demonstration, which included the burning of a copy of the Quran, and threatened to withhold Sweden’s approval altogether.

“The first thing we need to do is calm down the situation. It is hard to have good talks when things are literally burning around you,” Kristersson told a news conference during a visit to Estonia’s capital, Reuters reported.

He expressed optimism that preconditions for resuming talks were moving in a positive direction but also acknowledged that Turkish officials were likely more focused on domestic policies with May elections fast approaching. 

“As soon as they are prepared (for talks), we are obviously prepared,” Kristersson said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Tuesday that he hoped Finland and Sweden would soon become members together, as was their original intent.

“The goal is to be accepted as soon as possible, both Finland and Sweden,” Niinisto told a joint news conference in Helsinki with Canada’s visiting governor general. He added that both countries have been in close contact with Turkey, the U.S., and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Any resumption of talks will have to wait. Turkey and neighboring Syria are, at present, still reeling from the devastating loss of life following Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake as rescue workers and volunteers resume the frantic search for survivors under massive heaps of rubble where buildings once stood. The combined death toll in both countries had surpassed 5,200 as of early Tuesday, with at least 20,000 reported injured.