In northeastern Ukraine, Russian forces have carried out an attack on a café, resulting in the death of two civilians and the injury of another, according to regional authorities. This shelling near the city of Kupiansk has raised concerns that Russia might be attempting to retake the area, which had been captured by Kyiv in a swift counteroffensive in September of the previous year, following more than six months of Russian occupation.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian authorities ordered the mandatory evacuation of nearly 12,000 civilians from 37 towns and villages surrounding Kupiansk due to intense fighting and concerns about a potential Russian takeover.
The regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, reported through Telegram that Russian shells struck a café in Podoly, an eastern suburb of Kupiansk. Rescue teams were dispatched to the site to assist.
UK military intelligence has assessed that Russia might intensify its offensive efforts in the Kupiansk and nearby Lyman areas to alleviate pressure on its forces near Bakhmut and in the Zaporizhzhia region, where Ukrainian counteroffensive actions have reportedly made gradual progress.
Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, stated in a regular briefing that Russian forces have improved their positions along the front lines in the Kupiansk area and repelled five Ukrainian assaults over the previous day. However, he did not provide further details regarding troop movements.
After the Russian withdrawal from Kupiansk last year, Ukrainian authorities reported the discovery of torture chambers and mass graves in the region.
Additionally, there was a drone attack on Moscow, leading to a temporary shutdown of all three major airports serving the city. Russian officials blamed Ukraine for this attack, which was one of several near-daily strikes on the Russian capital and surrounding areas. Kyiv has claimed responsibility for striking Russian military assets far behind the front lines.
Ukraine has recently asserted that it destroyed a key Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system in occupied Crimea and conducted drone attacks on Russian air bases. Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ukrainian military’s ground forces, indicated that Russia is regrouping in the eastern part of Ukraine controlled by Moscow to resume offensive operations.
Kupiansk, a town with a pre-war population of around 27,000, was captured by Russia early in the February 2022 invasion but was recaptured by Ukrainian troops in a swift offensive last September.
On a separate note, three Ukrainian pilots died in a collision between two L-39 trainer aircraft in a region west of the capital. President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed condolences and praised one of the deceased pilots, Andriy Pilshchykov, as a significant contributor to the state’s efforts. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
This series of events underscores the ongoing conflict and tension in Ukraine, with military operations and incidents continuing to affect various regions of the country.