Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Saturday that Russian forces had “advanced in certain directions” but that Ukrainian defenders were “countering and driving out the occupiers”.
“Obviously the enemy has advanced in some directions, however, they only control small areas. Our defenders are severely countering and pushing out the occupiers,” he said in a statement, adding that due to the “slowdown in offensive pace and resistance from Ukrainians, Russia changes tactics.”
“To date, the Ukrainian skies are the most vulnerable,” he said. “The aggressor uses its air and missile potential comprehensively and actively. All types of aviation bombard our towns, villages and civilian infrastructure, including critical infrastructure and dangerous infrastructure, among which are nuclear and hydroelectric power stations. “
Reznikov said Russian forces targeted residential buildings, schools, kindergartens and hospitals. “The enemy is destroying churches and cathedrals. He is bombarding train stations with thousands of evacuated women and children,” he said.
“These are scared jackal tactics,” he said. “I am convinced that the enemy will pay for every life and for every tear.”
Reznikov said Mariupol, Volnovakha, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson are among the cities where the situation is currently “most complex”, adding, “We really hope the humanitarian corridor will work and we can evacuate civilians.”
Reznikov said the main efforts of Russian forces continued to focus on encircling Kiev and suppressing resistance in towns and villages.
A bit of context: Russia regularly denies civilian casualties in Ukraine. Media and international observers have extensively documented civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.