Moscow says Ukraine fired missiles at Russian city, wounding 20

Moscow accuses Kyiv of firing missiles and wounding 20 people as Russia pounds a key front line in southern Ukraine.

This photo released by Telegram Channel of Rostov-on-Don Region Governor Vasiliy Golubev shows the site of an explosion in Taganrog, Russia, Friday, July 28, 2023.
The Russian Defence Ministry said the military shot down a Ukrainian missile over the southern Russian city of Taganrog, about 40 kilometers east of Russia's border with Ukraine. [Telegram Channel of Rostov-on-Don Region Governor Vasiliy Golubev via AP]

Russian forces pounded a key village that Ukraine claimed to have recaptured in its grinding counteroffensive in the country’s southeast, while Moscow accused Kyiv of firing missiles at southern Russia and wounding 20 people.

On Friday, Russia said it shot down two Ukrainian missiles over its southern Rostov region bordering Ukraine, with at least a dozen people wounded by debris falling on the city of Taganrog.

The ministry said the first S-200 missile was aimed at “residential infrastructure” of Taganrog, a city of approximately 250,000 people.

Shortly after, it said it downed a second S-200 missile near the city of Azov, with debris falling in an unpopulated area.

Vasily Golubev, governor of Russia’s Rostov region, which includes Taganrog and is close to Ukraine, said a cafe had been hit along with a museum and that the windows of a residential building had been blown out.

Videos from the scene, circulating online, showed a low-rise building partly reduced to rubble.

Regions bordering Ukraine have seen regular drone attacks and shelling since Moscow launched its military campaign in February last year, but have hardly ever been targeted by missiles.

Ukrainian officials rarely confirm being behind the attacks, which have included drone attacks on the Kremlin that unsettled Russians.

The attacks have hit Russian ammunition and fuel depots, as well as bridges the Russian military uses to supply its forces, and military recruitment stations. The attacks have also included killings of Russian-appointed officials on occupied Ukrainian territory.

A member of Ukraine’s parliament late on Friday said that a multi-storey residential building in the central city of Dnipro was hit by a Russian missile. Al Jazeera could not independently verify the attack.

Ukraine Statehood Day

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, marked Ukraine’s Statehood Day by reaffirming the country’s sovereignty – a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who used his claim that Ukraine did not exist as a nation to justify his invasion.

“Now, like more than a thousand years ago, our civilisational choice is unity with the world,” Zelenskyy said in a speech on a square outside St Michael’s Monastery in Kyiv.

“To be a power in world history. To have the right to its national history – of its people, its land, its state. And of our children – all future generations of the Ukrainian people. We will definitely win!”

He also honoured servicemen and handed out first passports to young citizens as part of ceremonies. The holiday coincides with commemorations of the adoption of Christianity on lands that later became Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Zelenskyy, centre right, awards a serviceman during an event for marking Statehood Day in Mykhailivska Square in Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, centre right, awards a serviceman during an event for marking Statehood Day in Kyiv, Friday, July 28, 2023 [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

Southeastern Ukraine

Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for a key village in southeastern Ukraine, with Moscow’s forces pounding it with artillery, amid Kyiv’s grinding counteroffensive.

A Western official said on Thursday that Ukraine had launched a major push in the southeast. Putin acknowledged that fighting has intensified there, but insisted Kyiv’s push has failed.

Zelenskyy posted a video on Thursday night in which Ukrainian soldiers said they had taken Staromaiorske in the Donetsk region.

Russian military bloggers said artillery fire at the Ukrainian troops had effectively razed the village and reported more barrages Friday.

Capturing the village, which in 2014 had a population of 682, would give Ukraine a platform to push deeper into Russian-held territory, the bloggers noted.

The area has been a focus of Ukraine’s counteroffensive since June, and its troops have previously captured several other villages there as they slowly work their way across extensive Russian minefields.

Source: News Agencies