Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Russia’s military fired a volley of missiles at an airfield in central Ukraine on Saturday, killing at least three people, while Ukrainian forces launched missile attacks on river crossings in a Russian-held southern region.
The attacks on vital infrastructure on the 150th day of Russia’s war in Ukraine marked new attempts by the warring factions to tip the scales of the grueling conflict in their favor.
In the central Ukrainian region of Kirovohradska, 13 Russian rockets hit an airfield and a railway facility. Governor Andriy Raikovych said at least one soldier and two guards were killed. The regional administration reported the strikes near the city of Kirovohrad, injuring another 13 people.
In the southern Kherson region, which Russian troops captured early in the invasion, Ukrainian forces preparing for a possible counter-offensive fired rockets at Dnieper crossings in an attempt to cut off supplies to the Russians.
The new attacks came hours after Moscow and Kyiv signed agreements with the United Nations and Turkey aimed at averting a global food crisis. The agreements pave the way for the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and some Russian grain and fertilizer exports that have been held back by the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address that the deals “offer an opportunity to avert a global catastrophe — a famine that could lead to political chaos in many countries around the world, especially those countries that are helping us.”
Despite progress on this front, fighting raged unabated in Donbass, eastern Ukraine’s industrial heartland, where Russian forces attempted to make fresh advances in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Russian troops also faced Ukrainian counterattacks but largely held their ground in the Kherson region north of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Earlier this week, Ukrainians bombed the Antonivskyi bridge over the Dnieper using the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, said Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed Kherson regional administration.
Stremousov told Russia’s state news agency Tass that the only other crossing of the Dnieper, the dam at the Kachovka hydroelectric power station, was also attacked by rockets launched with Washington-supplied weapons, but were not damaged.
HIMARS, which fires GPS-guided missiles at targets 80 kilometers (50 miles) away, a distance that makes it unattainable for most Russian artillery systems, has significantly bolstered Ukraine’s strike capability.
In addition, Ukrainian forces shelled a car bridge over the Inhulets River in the village of Darivka, Stremousov told Tass. He said the bridge east of the regional capital of Kherson suffered seven hits but remained open to traffic.
Stremousov said that unlike the Antonivskyi bridge, the small bridge in Darivka has no strategic value.
Since April, the Kremlin has focused on seizing Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking region in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have declared independence.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed on Wednesday that Moscow plans to retain control of other areas its armed forces occupied during the war.
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