Aftermath of shelling on Emergency Service point in Dnipro Aftermath of shelling on Emergency Service point in Dnipro 

Kyiv: Ukraine counter-offensive Imminent after deadly Russian strikes

Ukraine says it is ready to launch its long-expected counter-offensive against Russian forces. The announcement came after at least two people were killed and more than 30 injured in a Russian missile strike on a medical clinic in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

By Stefan J. Bos  

Ukraine's most senior security official Oleksiy Danilov warns that an assault to retake territory from Russian President Vladimir Putin's occupying forces could begin "tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in a week."

Kyiv refuses to be more specific, but his statement suggests that the long-awaited counter-offensive is imminent. 

It comes amid growing frustration about ongoing Russian drone and missile strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine. 

The latest Russian attacks included hitting a medical clinic in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Firefighters battled the blaze after the strike in which several people died and dozens, including children, were injured. 

However, global worries exist that the war is spreading beyond Ukraine's borders. 

The United States expressed concern about the growing evidence that U.S. military equipment provided to Ukraine is used to carry out attacks inside Russian territory amid fears it could lead to a nuclear confrontation.

Moscow claimed it had killed 70 members of pro-Ukrainian militia this week, which used U.S. armoured vehicles to enter Russia from neighbouring Ukraine. 

U.S. investigating imagery 

American Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says his office is looking into social media imagery of vehicles and military hardware in a cross-border incursion on Monday by militia in the Russian region of Belgorod. I saw the same video - whether that's U.S. supplied equipment or not, what was the nature of the attack, who did what to whom," Milley told a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington. 

"I can't say that with definitiveness right this minute, but I can say that we have asked the Ukrainians not to use U.S.-supplied equipment for direct attacks into Russia," he added. "Why is that? Because we don't want...This is a Ukrainian war. It is not a war between the United States and Russia. It's not a war between NATO and Russia," Milley stressed. 

On Saturday, a construction worker was among the latest victims killed inside Russia near the Russian village of Plekhovo, a few kilometres from the border with Ukraine, authorities said. 

The governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoyt, noticed that the worker died after shelling from the Ukrainian side, but there was no immediate confirmation. 

Russia's claims came as Berlin announced that Ukraine asked Germany to supply it with Taurus cruise missiles, an air-launched weapon ranging up to 500 kilometres. 

If it supplied the missiles, Germany would follow Britain, which earlier in May became the first country to provide Kyiv with long-range cruise missiles publicly.

The United States has so far declined to supply Ukraine with its Army Tactical Missile System, citing concerns that Ukraine could use them to strike inside Russia's recognized borders.

Hungary urging ceasefire 

Hungary, a member of the NATO military alliance, has declined to provide any weapons to neighbouring Ukraine, with the Hungarian Prime Minister urging a ceasefire. "Emotionally, it's tragic; all of our hearts are with the Ukrainians," Orbán said at this week's Qatar Economic Forum in Doha. 

"We understand how much they suffer," he explained, referring to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for freedom, which Russia-led Soviet soldiers then crushed. 

"But I am speaking here as a politician, and the solution is to save lives," the prime minister said. 

"The most important thing for the international political communities is to save lives. Especially when you are convinced, as I do, that there is no chance to win this war. Therefore, we should invest far more energy to convince everybody that the only solution is a ceasefire. And then after the ceasefire, peace talks should start," Orbán argued in Qatar.      

Russia's Ukraine invasion last year triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two. 

It is also seen as the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world close to a nuclear war.

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27 May 2023, 17:23