The World Forum - June 16th, 2024

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Russia hits illegally annexed Ukraine areas from ground, air


Ukraine—Russian forces used ground- and air-fired missiles, rocket launchers and weaponized drones to bombard the provinces of Ukraine it has illegally annexed but doesn't fully control, causing casualties, building damage and power outages Friday.

The Ukrainian military said Russian forces launched 18 airstrikes, five missile strikes and 53 attacks from multiple rocket launchers between Thursday and Friday mornings.

According to the General Staff statement, Russia was concentrating the bulk of its offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, focusing on the cities and towns of Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka in Donetsk province.

Most of Friday's battlefield reports concerned the four Ukrainian provinces Russia annexed in September: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to gain complete control of the provinces, while Ukraine has indicated it will soon launch a counteroffensive to take back more territory.

Russia also annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, a move that most of the world also regarded as illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to regain all Russian-occupied areas.

In the latest fighting, the Ukrainian military said it downed a Russian Su-25 ground attack jet near Marinka. A video showed a big explosion as the plane slammed into the ground, with its pilot descending on a parachute. The Russian military, in keeping with its general silence on losses, didn’t confirm the warplane's downing.

British military officials said in their latest daily analysis that Russian forces have likely advanced into the center of Bakhmut and captured the western bank of the Bakhmutka River.