Moscow/Leopolis, (EFE).- Russia today attacked western Ukraine with missiles, whose authorities again asked their partners for fighters in Munich to better protect their skies, just when Western and Russian media warn that Moscow could start using aviation to support their troops on the ground.
“The terrorist State does not stop trying to intimidate the civilian population. In the last 24 hours alone, ten regions of Ukraine were bombed,” Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky wrote on Telegram.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia fired four Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea, two of which were destroyed by air defense.
The head of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration, Vitaly Kim, was the first to warn that “two dark targets are flying to the west.”
Two injured, material damage and nuclear danger
Shortly after, his counterpart in the Khmelnitsky region, Serhii Gamalii, confirmed two explosions in the western province.
“This morning the enemy carried out two attacks on the city of Khmelnitsky. Unfortunately, there was an impact at a military installation and another near a public transportation stop,” he noted.
Two civilians were injured, he explained.
In the attack against the city, where more than 274,000 people live, ten apartment buildings and three educational institutions were damaged by the shock wave. Half a thousand windows and balconies were destroyed, according to the mayor, Oleksandr Symchyshyn.
The state nuclear energy company, Energoatom, denounced that the missile attack endangered the South Nuclear Power Plant, in the Mykolaiv region.
“Russia once again committed an act of nuclear terrorism,” he stressed, explaining that two Russian cruise missiles “flew dangerously close to the plant.”
“The threat of a reactor being hit with possible consequences – a nuclear disaster – has become high again,” he complained.
Last September a Russian missile fell 300 meters from the plant, according to kyiv.
Energoatom urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has observers at the plant, to take “all possible measures to stop Russian nuclear terrorism.”
While the umpteenth Russian attack was taking place in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference with his counterparts from the G7 countries (Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, USA and Canada) and the high representative of the EU for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.
“We are focused on everything necessary for Ukraine’s victory in 2023. There will be rapid arms deliveries and new sanctions,” he tweeted.
Efforts to receive planes continue
In a press conference, he also stressed that in the last twelve months, Ukraine obtained from its partners six types of advanced weapons out of seven that it had requested to stop Russian aggression, despite the fact that the initial answer to all of them was always “no”.
“We received anti-tank missiles, artillery, multiple missile launchers, anti-aircraft systems, tanks and long-range missiles. The only type of weaponry pending is that of airplanes, ”he said.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in Munich that his country was the first to provide Ukraine with long-range weapons.
Although no country has yet promised fighters, Kuleba was confident. “I dare to say that Ukraine will receive planes, it is only a matter of time and procedure,” he said.
The minister made these statements coinciding with the publication in independent Western and Russian media of information about a possible change in Russian tactics.
Moscow uses aviation to launch missiles, but has not yet used the full potential of its fleet of combat planes and helicopters, nor has it almost never flown in areas covered by Ukrainian air defense.
According to the figures handled by the specialized medium Flight Global, the Russian fleet is almost twelve times the Ukrainian one, although Russia has lost some 585 planes and helicopters in the last year, according to the calculations of the General Staff of Ukraine.
Will Russia use aviation massively?
Last Tuesday, the British newspaper Financial Times wrote, citing Western intelligence, that Russia is concentrating planes and helicopters near the Ukrainian border.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia uses about 40 airfields in Russia, Belarus and the occupied territories.
On Thursday, the independent Russian media “Important Stories” indicated for its part, citing a source close to the Ministry of Defense, that Russia has decided to use “massive aviation in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat stressed that Moscow is not accumulating more aircraft at the border, but is instead trying to disperse its fleet after the Ukrainian attack on an air base inside Russia in December.
British intelligence also maintains that the Russian Air Force is currently unlikely to expand the use of aviation in warfare.