Ukraine War: Russia hits stations and fuel facilities in attacks deep in Ukraine – after US Secretary of State meets Zelensky | world news

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Russia has hit rail and oil installations in attacks in central and western Ukraine – as the US Secretary of State has said, Russia is failing in its war aims.

In a series of attacks, Russia has targeted infrastructure away from the front line, according to Ukrainian and Russian reports.

Five train stations were hit by Russian strikes in central and western Ukraine in the same hour, the head of Ukrainian railways said. An unknown number of casualties have been reported.

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A station in Krasne, near Lviv, was among the targets, the region’s governor said.

One person was killed and seven others injured when Russian missile fire hit an oil refinery and power plant in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, the governor of the Poltava region said. Moscow confirmed it destroyed an oil refinery, adding that fuel depots were hit.

Russian rockets targeted two towns in the central Vinnytsia region, killing and injuring an unknown number, regional governor Serhiy Borzov said.

Hundreds of civilians remain trapped in the besieged steelworks in Azovstal, the last Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, according to Ukrainian officials.

Moscow said it was opening a humanitarian corridor to let civilians out of the factory, but kyiv said no deal had been reached and called on the United Nations to help find one as a ‘”initiator and guarantor”.

In the Russian region of Bryansk, just north of Ukraine, a fire broke out at an oil depot, but no immediate cause was given for the fire.

It comes as Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said the US had approved a $165m (£130m) ammunition sale to Ukraine, along with $322m dollars (£251 million) of foreign military funding.

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Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia “has yet to make a significant breakthrough” after shifting its focus to the eastern Donbass region.

Picture:
The situation in Ukraine on day 61 of the war

“The strategy we have put in place – massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts – is delivering real results,” he said, speaking at the border with Poland after meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“When it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia fails, Ukraine succeeds.

“Russia sought as its main objective to completely subjugate Ukraine, to strip it of its sovereignty, to strip it of its independence. It failed.”

He said Russia was “seeking to assert the power of its military and its economy”, but “of course we are seeing the opposite: a military that is dramatically underperforming, an economy – as a result of sanctions, following a mass exodus from Russia – which is in ruins”.

Russia’s attempt to “divide the West and NATO” has also failed, he said.

Mr Blinken confirmed that US diplomats will begin returning to Ukraine next week.

It was the first visit by a senior US official since Russia invaded Ukraine, with Mr Blinken joined by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

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Fires after explosions in Bryansk, Russia

The United States wants to see Russia “weakened”

Mr Austin said the US wanted to see Russia ‘weakened to the point that it cannot do the kinds of things it did by invading Ukraine’.

He said Ukraine can win if they have the “right equipment”, pledging to do “everything we can” to provide it.

He said the United States had raised concerns about weapons falling into the hands of Russian-backed forces in the Donbass region and said the Ukrainians were “focused on this issue.”

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The new funding brings total US security assistance to Ukraine to $3.7bn (£2.9bn) since the invasion began.

The US State Department said the funding “will provide support for the capabilities Ukraine needs as Russian forces focus on Donbass” and said the aid will help Ukraine’s armed forces transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems.

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Zelenskyy speaks to the media at a subway station

A further $400m (£312m) of new foreign military funding will be shared among 15 other countries in central and eastern Europe, as well as the Balkans.

US President Joe Biden will also soon announce his candidate for Ambassador to Ukraine – Bridget Brink, a career foreign service officer.

The US State Department has pledged to reopen its embassy in Lviv as soon as the situation allows.

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As the West has funneled military hardware to Ukraine, Zelenskyy has repeatedly stressed his country needs more heavy weapons, including long-range air defense systems and fighter jets .

Mr Austin said “the nature of combat has evolved because the terrain they are focusing on now is a different type of terrain” and the US understands the need for long-range guns and tanks.

He said the United States was “doing everything it could to [Mr Zelenskyy] the types of support – the types of artillery and ammunition – that will be effective at this stage of the fight”.

After the meeting, Mr Zelenskyy said he was “very grateful” for the American help, praising Mr Biden for his “personal support”.

Russia warns West against sending arms to Ukraine

Russia has warned the United States against sending more weapons to Ukraine, saying it will only increase bloodshed.

“What the Americans are doing is pouring oil on the fire,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, told Rossiya 24 TV channel.

“I only see an attempt to raise the stakes, to make the situation worse, to see more losses.”

He said an official diplomatic note had been sent to Washington stressing “the unacceptability of this situation” and demanding an end to this practice.

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