Earlier on Thursday, my colleague Streiff added his latest update on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine, which he notes has now reached the 13-month mark. (read: Putin’s War, Week 56. Putin Indicted for War Crimes, Xi Visits Moscow, and Sevastopol Attacked for a Third Time)
One storyline he gave an update on was Putin’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, writing that
[n]o major announcement of Chinese aid came out of the meeting. Instead, the agreements signed covered generic topics. Notably, China did not pledge military assistance to Russia.
Readers may know that the meeting comes after The Hague’s International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for war crimes against both Putin and another Russian official on Friday.
Streiff also included this tweet about recent fighting in Ukraine, specifically in the city of Zaporizhzhia:
Members of the GRU's 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade. Along with the 291st Regiment, they were reportedly in the recent fighting in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.https://t.co/ieTRjRbjfkhttps://t.co/hGKnbgx7mJ pic.twitter.com/e0iCGoFH58
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 22, 2023
Now, there are reports that Russia unleashed numerous drone strikes against Ukraine—including in the Zaporizhzhia area—on Wednesday. The attacks could be seen as an attempt by Putin to send a signal in the wake of Xi’s visit to Moscow, since some of the missiles hit “civilian infrastructure,” and at least 10 people were killed.
Russia unleashed a wave of deadly attacks on towns and cities across Ukraine on Wednesday as Chinese leader Xi Jinping departed from Moscow following talks with President Vladimir Putin.
As Xi flew back to Beijing, Russia’s military launched a barrage of strikes with Iran-made Shahed drones on Ukraine’s Kyiv region, killing at least nine people, according to Ukrainian authorities. Andrii Niebytov, the Kyiv region’s police chief, said seven others were injured when a drone struck a dormitory building in the town of Rzhyshchiv.
In the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, at least one person was killed and 34 injured – including two children – after Russian missiles hit apartment blocks, in what has been described as a “deliberate strike” to “kill civilians,” according to senior Ukrainian official and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
Video of the attack shows an explosion blasting through the side of two nine-story residential buildings.
The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said in a statement at least six missiles hit the city, causing extensive damage.
“One of the missiles hit between two high-rise buildings, partially destroying apartments and balconies, damaging roofs and breaking windows,” the statement said. “The blast wave and debris also damaged other nearby residential buildings, cars and other civilian infrastructure in the city.”
The Biden administration responded to the Russian attacks with a statement. They didn’t echo Podolyak’s wording about strikes against civilians being “deliberate,” but it’s right on the line:
The Biden administration on Wednesday stopped short of accusing Russia of targeting civilians with missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia but said it “certainly” is consistent with previous such attacks.
“It’s obviously right out of the Russian playbook to target civilian infrastructure and to show no regard for avoiding the targeting of civilians,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.
We’ll provide more updates on this story as more details become available. Most likely, the war between Russia and Ukraine won’t be ending anytime soon.