regular-article-logo Monday, 25 September 2023

Ukraine crisis: Russia hits hometown of Eurovision duo

The city of Ternopil in western Ukraine was targeted by a wave of Russian airstrikes overnight

Deutsche Welle Published 14.05.23, 05:22 PM
Firefighters work at a site of warehouse damaged by a Russian missile strike in Ternopil

Firefighters work at a site of warehouse damaged by a Russian missile strike in Ternopil Deutsche Welle

Russia fired cruise missiles and Iranian-made kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets overnight, triggering air raid alerts across the country, the Ukrainian Air Force said on Sunday.

The drones and missiles were launched from aircraft and Black Sea warships, the military said. Twenty-five drones, most of them of the Iranian Shahed-136/131 type, and three cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian defenses, it added.


The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said the country's air defenses were hitting their targets. But he also published photos of destroyed houses in the city of Ternopil in western Ukraine.

Ternopil is the hometown of the Ukrainian Eurovision contenders, the electro-pop duo Tvorchi. Rockets hit the town as the pair was performing at the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the English city of Liverpool on Saturday night. Two people were injured in the strikes.

"Our hometown ... was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will," Tvorchi posted on Instagram, dedicating their performance to "all cities of Ukraine that are shelled every day."

"Europe, unite against evil for the sake of peace!" they wrote.

The duo's song, "Heart of Steel," was inspired by Ukrainian attempts to resist a monthslong siege at the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol.

Russia has increased the number of missile and drone attacks this month, which Kyiv attributes to Moscow's fear of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Russian missiles hit Ternopil, the hometown of the Ukrainian Eurovision contenders, the Ukrainian electro-pop duo Tvorchi

Russian missiles hit Ternopil, the hometown of the Ukrainian Eurovision contenders, the Ukrainian electro-pop duo Tvorchi Deutsche Welle

Zelenskyy holds talks in Berlin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

"In the most challenging time in the modern history of Ukraine, Germany [is] proud to be our true friend and reliable ally," Zelenskyy wrote in the guest book of the German presidency. "Together we will win and bring peace back to Europe."

Scholz said that Germany will support Ukraine as long as needed. "I have said it many times, and I repeat it here today: we will support you for as long as it is necessary," Scholz said during a joint press conference.

It is Zelenskyy's first visit to Germany since Russia launched its full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. On the eve of Zelenskyy's visit, Germany pledged a new package of military aid worth more than €2.7 billion ($3 billion).

The package contained 30 of Germany's Leopard tanks as well as fighting vehicles, reconnaissance drones and four Iris-T air defense systems seen as crucial to stopping Russian missiles from raining down on Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.

Zelenskyy flew to Berlin aboard a German military jet from Rome, where he had been meeting with Italian leaders and the pope.

Russia says Ukraine made attempts to break through Bakhmut defenses

Russia's Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian forces made "mass attempts" to break through its defenses in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut over the past 24 hours, Russian news agencies reported.

"All attacks by units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been repelled. There have been no breakthroughs of the Russian troops' defenses," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying.

He also said that two Russian military commanders were killed. In a rare announcement of its losses on the battlefield, the Defense Ministry admitted that the commander of the 4th motorized rifle brigade, Vyacheslav Makarov, and Yevgeny Brovko, deputy commander of the Army Corps for military-political work, had been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces likely cannot respond to challenges — UK

The Russian grouping of forces in Ukraine is "mostly poorly trained mobilized reservists and increasingly reliant on antiquated equipment," the British Defence Ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

It said that the grouping of forces on paper likely still consists of over 200,000 personnel organized into around 70 combat regiments and brigades divided into five Groups of Forces, like it was at the start of the invasion.

However, in February 2022 it consisted of professional soldiers, was largely equipped with reasonably modern vehicles, and had been regularly exercised, the ministry said.

According to the update, it is unlikely that Russian forces have been able to generate "a large, capable, mobile reserve to respond to emerging operational challenges."

It is also unlikely to be "an organization which will effectively cohere large-scale military effect along the 1,200 km front line under stress," it added.

Follow us on: