Ukraine is “to a high percentage ready” to launch its counteroffensive towards Russia, in response to the nation’s defence minister.
“As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders, we will do it,” Oleksii Reznikov mentioned on Friday.
The Ukrainian minister mentioned Western tanks and weapons would act as an “iron fist” in Ukraine’s bid to take again its occupied territory.
His feedback come as 19 individuals have been killed in a spherical of Russian airstrikes – the primary large-scale group of strikes in practically two months.
Officials mentioned 17 individuals have been killed within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Uman from a spherical of Russian missile and drone strikes.
An additional two individuals have been killed in Dnipro, a metropolis within the southern central space, alongside the banks of the Dnipro River.
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The capital Kyiv was additionally rocked by explosions within the early hours, as have been the central cities of Kremenchuk and Poltava, and Mykolaiv within the south.
Two individuals have been wounded within the city of Ukrainka – simply south of Kyiv – officers mentioned.
In Uman, firefighters battled a raging blaze at a residential condominium constructing that had been struck on an higher flooring by a Russian missile.
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Officials mentioned a minimum of 15 individuals have been killed there, together with three youngsters – two 10-year-olds and a toddler – whereas an extra 9 individuals have been taken to hospital.
One resident, Serhii Lubivskyi, 58, was within the block of flats when the missile struck.
“My neighbours are gone, no one is left… only the kitchens were left standing,” he mentioned.
“My flat is on the seventh floor… we felt the impact, we heard the explosion.”
Another resident, Olga, mentioned: “At first the windows were blown out, then came the explosion. Everything flew out.”
Moscow has often launched long-range missile assaults in the course of the 14-month struggle, typically indiscriminately hitting civilian areas.
However, the Kremlin has denied its army goals at civilian targets.
The Russian defence ministry mentioned the long-range cruise missiles launched in a single day have been aimed toward locations the place Ukrainian army reserve models have been staying earlier than their deployment to the battlefield.
It comes as Ukraine prepares to launch its much-talked-about counteroffensive to reclaim territory taken by Russia.
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The offensive will contain tanks and weapons from Western powers, together with the US, the UK and Germany.
Britain has given Challenger 2 tanks, the US has despatched Abrams, whereas German Leopard 2 tanks have additionally been handed over to Kyiv to be used within the offensive.
Russia, in the meantime, has been fortifying its occupied territory for months in anticipation of Kyiv’s deliberate assault – which is extensively anticipated as soon as hotter climate returns.
Ukraine and its Western army backers hope a push by hundreds of Ukrainian troops skilled at Western bases will shift the dynamics of the struggle – which has largely seen Russia on the offensive all through winter.