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Russia Trying Terror Attacks on Ukrainian Civilians

It is a sign of the bankrupt Russian strategy that they continue to conduct indiscriminate strikes across Ukraine, senior military officials said at the Pentagon today.

Soldiers work on a vehicle engine.
Training Time
Norwegian soldiers provide M109 self-propelled howitzer maintenance training to Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, May 24, 2022. The maintainer training is provided by both US and Norwegian soldiers as part of their respective country’s security assistance package.
Photo By: Army Spc. Nicko K. Bryant Jr.
VIRIN: 220524-A-DW071-1004

Russian forces are using a variety of missiles and Iranian attack drones to target cities in Ukraine. "We assess that Russia has deliberately struck civilian infrastructure and non-military targets, with the purpose of needlessly harming civilians and attempting to instill terror among [the] Ukrainian population," the official said on background.

The official said the Ukraine counteroffensive continues. "While it remains a dynamic fight, there have been no major shifts in territory over the past day or so," he said. "Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to conduct artillery strikes against one another along the frontlines, with Ukraine consolidating its previous gains." 

Russian forces are trying to mount an offensive in the central part of the Donbas, but Ukrainian forces are largely continuing to hold the line.  

On the Kherson front, "we continue to see deliberate and calibrated operations by the Ukrainians to move forward," the official said. "We have no major updates to provide in terms of territory taken back. We do assess that Russian forces continue to reinforce their defensive lines against Ukrainian forces." 

The official said there have been anecdotal reports of mobilized Russian soldiers showing up for duty in Ukraine, but no indications of large troop movements at this time.

A tractor tows a helicopter.
Delivering Supplies
An Mi-17 helicopter is towed at Davis-Monthan Air Base, Arizona, June 9, 2022. The Department of Defense is delivering Mi-17 helicopters to aid Ukrainian troops around the battlefield as it continues to expedite the authorization and facilitation of additional assistance to Ukraine.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
VIRIN: 220609-F-IH072-1007

The official said the international community is fully behind Ukraine. "Ukraine is not by itself, it's essentially got the world behind it with nearly 50 nations supporting it," he said. "Everybody's providing some type of support, giving what they can. Also, you know, recently you had the national armaments directors meeting in Belgium to talk about, not only how can they continue to sustain their own readiness and their own stockpiles, but also how can we continue to employ our defense industrial bases and our own know-how to be able to sustain this fight for the long term." 

This coalition of the willing is a strategic advantage that Russia cannot match, the official said. Ukraine has a global network working together to support the country as it fights to reclaim its territory. Russia is "largely isolated, [and] having significant logistics and sustainment challenges," the official said. "We're confident that we can continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes."

News reports say that Russia has sent between 8,000 and 10,000 troops into Belarus, and the official says NATO is keeping an eye on this development. "At this time, we don't have any indications that would cause us to change our perspectives on the battlefield as it stands right now," he said. "And in regards to the movement of particular Russian aircraft or systems within Russia, again, we haven't seen anything that would cause us to change our overall strategic posture or our posture in Europe."

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