The ruins of a home destroyed in a Russian rocket attack in Kherson last month. Alamy Stock Photo

Ukraine says two people killed in Russian shelling in Kherson

Meanwhile, Russia said it neutralised 35 Ukrainian drones over the annexed Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov.

UKRAINE HAS SAID that two people have been killed by Russian shelling in the southern city of Kherson, the latest fatalities in months of persistent shelling by Moscow’s forces.

The city was recaptured by Ukrainian forces just over one year ago but has been shelled constantly by Russian forces on the opposite side of the Dnipro river that runs next to the city.

“In the morning, the Russian army mercilessly shelled the centre of Kherson. The occupiers killed two people,” said Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson region.

Medical workers who arrived on the scene confirmed that two residents had been killed, Prokudin said, adding that a 59-year-old man was hospitalised.

Prokudin also distributed images showing a blood-stained sidewalk and the blurred body of one of the victims.

Ukrainian forces in recent weeks have taken up positions on the left bank of the Dnipro river where Russian forces are entrenched, part of efforts that Kyiv says are to stave off Russian artillery attacks on Kherson.

Meanwhile, Russia said it neutralised 35 Ukrainian drones over the annexed Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov.

“An attempt by the Kyiv regime to commit a terrorist attack with aerial drones… was foiled last night,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement, adding that “22 Ukrainian drones were destroyed and 13 others were intercepted over the Sea of Azov and Crimea.”

“A new attack attempt by the Kyiv regime” this morning saw four Ukrainian drones shot down and two intercepted over the Azov Sea, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, hosts the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and is a key supply route for Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine. It is regularly targeted by Ukrainian forces.

US aid

It comes after the White House warned that US aid for Ukraine will run out by the end of the year and Russian President Vladimir Putin could win the war if Congress fails to agree fresh funding.

US President Joe Biden’s budget director, Shalanda Young, said in a blunt letter to Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson that if military assistance dries up it would “kneecap” Kyiv’s fight against the Russian invasion.

Democrat Biden asked Congress in October for a huge $106 billion national security package including military assistance for Ukraine and for Israel’s war against Hamas, but the funding has been mired in divisions on Capitol Hill.

“There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money – and nearly out of time,” wrote Young.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine,” she added.

“Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”

National Security Advisory Jake Sullivan went further, suggesting that voting against aid for Ukraine was effectively voting to make it easier for Russia to succeed.

“Congress has to decide whether to continue to support the fight for freedom in Ukraine … or whether Congress will ignore the lessons we’ve learned from history and let Putin prevail,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House.

“It is that simple. It is that stark a choice.”

Ukraine’s frontline has largely remained static for the last year despite a massive push by Ukrainian forces this summer with Western military hardware.

The United States has already allocated $111 billion (€102 billion) for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, including $67 billion (€61 billion) for military procurement, Young said.

European countries are also facing challenges in securing funding for Ukraine as fatigue with the war sets in.

© AFP 2023