KYIV – Russia said on Monday its military hit Ukrainian air bases in overnight strikes and Ukrainian forces shelled industrial facilities inside Russia as both sides sought the upper hand ahead of what Kyiv hopes will be a decisive counter-offensive.
In a rare acknowledgement of damage to a military “target”, Ukraine said that work was under way to restore a runway and that five aircraft were taken out of service in the western region of Khmelnitskiy, though it did not name the sites.
A military airfield was sited in the region before the war.
“At the moment, work is continuing to contain fires in storage facilities for fuel and lubricants and munitions,” the Khmelnitskiy regional governor's office said.
Russian state-owned news agency RIA cited the defence ministry as saying more than one air base had been hit. There was no confirmation from Ukraine of damage to other air bases.
The Ukrainian capital came under attack for the 16th time this month after a second successive night of bombardment. But officials said most of the drones and missiles fired overnight had been shot down and no targets were hit in the morning.
The attacks, which sent Kyiv residents running for shelter in metro stations, were part of a new wave of Russian air strikes this month as Ukraine, armed with new Western weapons, prepares a push to try to take back territory Russia has seized in the “special military operation” launched in February 2022.
“With these constant attacks, the enemy seeks to keep the civilian population in deep psychological tension,” said Serhiy Popko, the head of the city's military administration.
Two people were killed and eight wounded in a Russian attack on the Ukrainian city of Toretsk in the eastern region of Donetsk on Monday, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Wagner forces replaced in Bakhmut
Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for the eastern group of Ukrainian Forces, told Ukrainian television there had been three military clashes in his region in the past 24 hours.
“But the enemy has maintained its fire on our positions. There were 373 shelling hits of various types in the past 24 hours and six air strikes on our positions,” he said.
Ukrainian forces returned fire, Cherevatyi said, and 155 enemy soldiers had been killed and 116 wounded.
Reuters was not able to confirm the battlefield accounts.
Cherevatyi also said that Wagner mercenary units were being replaced in the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut by Russian paratroops and motorised units.