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Russia launches strikes from Belarus, hits targets in northern Ukraine and Kyiv

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Russia launches strikes from Belarus, hits targets in northern Ukraine and Kyiv

A Ukrainian woman and her husband visit their destroyed house, which was reduced to rubble by Russian rocket attacks, near the capital Kyiv in Ukraine on July 11. On Thursday, Russian forces renewed attacks in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions for the first time in weeks. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE

July 28 (UPI) — Russian forces fired rockets into northern Ukraine from Belarus on Thursday, marking one of Moscow’s most aggressive actions and use of an ally to attack Ukraine since the start of the war five months ago.

Officials said the Russian military fired about 25 missiles in the early morning hours from Belarus and hit the city of Zhytomyr, the Chernihiv region, and other positions outside the capital Kyiv.

Thursday was the first time in weeks that Russian forces have targeted the Chernihiv and Kyiv areas.

Civilians tracking Russian movements in Belarus said the Russian rockets originated from Belarus’s Ziabrauka airfield, near Gomel.

“This morning, the enemy launched a rocket attack on one of the communities of the Vyshgorod district,” Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said, according to The Guardian. “The object of the infrastructure was fired upon. Information about the victims is being clarified. All emergency services are already on site.”

The new Russian attack on northern Ukraine came after Britain’s Defense Ministry, which has tracked military movements in Ukraine since the war began in February, reported that a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south has made some successes in Russian-occupied territory, such as Kherson.

“Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum,” the ministry noted in a tweet. “Their forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson.”

“Ukraine has used its new long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnipro River which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control,” the ministry added.

“Similarly, Kherson city, the most politically significant population center occupied by Russia, is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories. Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.”

Ukrainian officials acknowledged that Russia took the village of Novoluhankse and a large power plant in the Donetsk region this week. But they added that Ukrainian troops repelled Moscow’s advance toward Bakhmut from the south and east. In turn, Russian forces fired on Ukrainian military positions in several settlements north of Sloviansk.

Russia also continued its attack on Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv in the northeast, with long-range surface-to-air missiles.

“Kharkiv was shelled twice overnight, both coming immediately after midnight. One hit closer to the center, while the second targeted an adjacent district,” Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said according to CNN.

“As a result, two small fires broke out and were extinguished by our rescue team. Currently, we have no information about casualties.”