Ukrainian military attack leaves 54 Russian soldiers dead and 3 tanks destroyed, government says

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The Ukrainian army launched a successful attack on a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine on Saturday evening, killing 54 Russian soldiers and destroying at least three tanks.

The “South” operational command announced the assault on three Russian T-62 tanks, three “Grad” MRLS, an Msta-B howitzer and other armored and military vehicles, the Kyiv Independent reported.

The attack came on the 150th day of the Russian-Ukrainian war – which many experts say will only last 48 hours or two weeks at most – as Ukraine advances in the Kherson region to retake territory .

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“The occupants tried to settle there [in Kherson], their collaborators made various brazen statements, called in Russian the very right word “shapkozakidatelstvo” (false forecasts)… But how did this help them? The Ukrainian Armed Forces are advancing step by step in the region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an overnight address.

The attack comes as Russia launched a missile attack on Odessa, also in southern Ukraine, which could further devastate negotiations, Zelenskyy said.

“Today’s Russian missile attack on Odessa, on our port, is cynical, and it is also a blow to the political positions of Russia itself,” Zelenskyy said. “If anyone in the world could still say that some kind of dialogue with her, with Russia, some kind of agreement is necessary, see what happens. Today’s Russian Kalibr missiles have destroyed the the very possibility of such statements.”

A view of the ruins of the destroyed school in Kramatorsk.  As Russia intensified its "military operation" in Ukraine, a school in Kramatorsk was hit and destroyed by Russian rockets on 21 July.
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A view of the ruins of the destroyed school in Kramatorsk. As Russia intensified its “military operation” in Ukraine, a school in Kramatorsk was hit and destroyed by Russian rockets on July 21.
(Photo by Alex Chan Tsz Yuk/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“And we see the absolute unanimity of the world’s reaction to this strike. The occupiers can no longer deceive anyone. Among other things, as a result of this strike, the building of the Odessa Art Museum was also damaged. The missiles hit historical objects in Odessa very closely – something that is a boon not only to Ukrainian culture, but also to the culture of Europe,” he added.

“This apparent Russian barbarism brings us even closer to obtaining the weapons we need for our victory,” he said.

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The attack also comes as the international community made several gestures to help Ukraine over the weekend: President Joe Biden and the United States Congress announced $270 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine, including four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, 580 Phoenix Ghost drones and additional anti-armour weapons, as well as other equipment and vehicles.

Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on February 24, 2022.

Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on February 24, 2022.
(Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith also traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and met with Zelesnkyy; while the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, also spoke by telephone with the Ukrainian leader.

Scenes of destruction after the Russian withdrawal in the village of Zalissya in the Kyiv region.  Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, unleashing the largest military attack in Europe since World War II.

Scenes of destruction after the Russian withdrawal in the village of Zalissya in the Kyiv region. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, unleashing the largest military attack in Europe since World War II.
(Photo by Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Britain’s Boris Johnson has visited a training site where Ukrainian soldiers are trained by the British Armed Forces and NATO has announced additional reinforcements on its own eastern border.

“In general, during these almost five months, we have achieved diplomatic support and on such a scale for Ukraine that Russia will not be able to oppose it,” Zelenskyy said.

He concluded: “The day will come when the missiles will lose their meaning to the occupiers. Now it is possible to shoot down some of the missiles. The goal is to shoot down each one of them. And we will do everything necessary to be still modern and effective air defense systems, that is our goal.

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Russia first invaded Ukraine on February 24. Negotiations to end the war have mostly stalled, despite continued international pressure and sanctions against Russia.

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