At least four Russian Federation (RF) submarines carrying Kaliber cruise missiles have left port and submerged in the Black Sea, raising the threat of another wave of long-range attacks on Ukrainian government and civilian targets, officials and news reports said on Apr. 23.
Serhiy Bratiuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional defense administration, said the warships were last observed heading west after departing their home base in the Crimean peninsula. He said chances of a substantial series of RF missile strikes in coming days, and perhaps on Orthodox Christian Easter, on Sunday Apr. 24, were high.
On Apr. 23 morning statement made public by the British Ministry of Defense said the Kremlin in coming days would likely seek ways to avenge Ukraine’s Apr. 14 sinking of the RF cruiser Moskva, the Black Sea Fleet’s most powerful warship. She had been designed for air defense and as a platform to launch massive waves of cruise missiles.The British newspaper The Times on Apr. 23 said “at least” four RF submarines had put to sea.
The article said that due to the loss of the Moskva, and its cruise missile launch capacity, RF high command would seek alternate ways of bombarding Ukrainian homes, businesses and infrastructure. At the outset of the war Russian forces launched as many as 30 missiles a night at Ukrainian targets, but now the Kremlin is running out of missiles and due to the need for foreign-made high tech components, unlikely to manufacture more quickly, Ukrainian military analysts have said.
Following the failure its offensive to take Kyiv in a lightning attack in late February, RF forces have increasingly turned to systematic shelling, aerial bombardments and missile strikes mostly directed against non-military targets.
According to Ukrainian Army General Staff (AGS) estimates, the Kremlin’s intent is to destroy Ukrainian war-fighting capacity and to browbeat the Ukrainian people into surrender.
RF artillery bombarded towns and villages in the north-eastern Kharkiv region 56 times during the night of Apr. 22-23, killing two civilians and wounding 19, Kharkiv regional defense commander Oleh Sinehubov said in a Saturday statement.
In the eastern Donbas region, RF artillery targeted and badly damaged power sources for the main water pumping station in the city Lysychansk on Apr. 23, leaving 300,000 people without access to clean water, an eastern forces command statement of Apr. 23 said
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