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Russia hits rail and fuel targets far from the eastern front

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

Russia hits rail and fuel targets far from the eastern front

Russia unleashed a string of attacks Monday against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine, far from the front lines of Moscow’s new eastern offensive, in a bid to thwart Ukrainian efforts to marshal supplies for the fight

Russia unleashed a string of attacks Monday against rail and fuel installations deep inside Ukraine, far from the front lines of Moscow’s new eastern offensive, in a bid to thwart Ukrainian efforts to marshal supplies for the fight, Associated Press reported.

The US, meanwhile, moved to rush more weaponry to Ukraine and said the assistance from the Western allies is making a difference in the 2-month-old war.

“Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared, a day after he and the US secretary of defense made a bold visit to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Blinken said Washington approved a $165 million sale of ammunition — non-US ammo, mainly if not entirely for Ukraine’s Soviet-era weapons — and will also provide more than $300 million in financing to buy more supplies.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took his comments further, saying that while the US wants to see Ukraine remain a sovereign, democratic country, it also wants “to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”

Austin’s comments about weakening Russia appear to represent a broader US strategic goal. Previously, the US position had been that the goal of American military aid was to help Ukraine win and to defend Ukraine’s NATO neighbors against Russian threats, according to the Associated Press.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said weapons supplied by Western countries “will be a legitimate target” for Russian forces. He also warned that the risk of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”

Speaking in an interview on Russian television, Lavrov said the arming of Ukraine is an attempt to drag on the fighting “until the last soldier” to inflict the most suffering on Russia.

Regarding the possibility of a nuclear confrontation, Lavrov said: “I would not want to see these risks artificially inflated now, when the risks are rather significant.”

“The danger is serious,” he said. “It is real. It should not be underestimated.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US and its allies of trying to “split Russian society and to destroy Russia from within.”

In other developments, fires were reported at two oil facilities in western Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border. Their cause was not immediately known, Associated Press reported.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, its apparent goal was the lightning capture of Kyiv, the capital. But the Ukrainians, with the help of Western weapons, thwarted the push and forced Putin’s troops to retreat.

Moscow now says its goal is to take the Donbas, the mostly Russian-speaking industrial region in eastern Ukraine. While both sides say the campaign in the east is underway, Russia has yet to mount an all-out ground offensive and has not achieved any major breakthroughs.

On Monday, Russia focused its firepower elsewhere, with missiles and warplanes striking far behind the front lines, according to the Associated Press.