Drone attack hits Ukraine; US vows ‘consequences’ over nukes

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – A nighttime drone strike near the Ukrainian port of Odessa sparked a massive fire and explosion, the military said Monday, hours after the United States vowed to take decisive action and suffered “catastrophic consequences” promised if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The airstrike was the latest in a series of drone strikes on the main southern city in recent days. It hit a military installation and detonated ammunition when it struck. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze, the southern command of the Ukrainian army said.

Concerns are growing that Russia may want to escalate the conflict once it is done with what Ukraine and the West consider illegal referendums in parts of Ukraine under its control.

The vote, which ends Tuesday, took place after thousands of residents fled and includes images of armed Russian troops going door-to-door to pressure Ukrainians to vote. Russia is widely expected to declare the results in its favor, a move that could allow Moscow to annex the area and give it the pretext to try to defend it as its own territory under the Russian nuclear umbrella.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made it clear that Russia would pay a heavy price if it accepted veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in the conflict.

“If Russia crosses this border, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond resolutely,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

The Kremlin has already announced a partial mobilization to add at least 300,000 troops to its force in Ukraine ahead of the votes in the occupied territories. According to the British army, the first batches of the mobilized reservists have already started at the military bases.

The move, which marked a sharp shift from Vladimir Putin’s earlier attempts to portray the war as a limited military operation that would not interfere with the lives of most Russians, proved extremely unpopular at home.

Thousands of combat-age men flocked to airports and Russian border crossings to avoid being drafted. Protests broke out in various parts of the country and Russian media reported an increasing number of arson attacks at military recruiting offices.

Tensions mounted on Monday morning when a young man approached a military service office in the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk and shot the military commander at close range.

According to Russian media reports, the man walked into the facility and said, “No one is going to fight” and “We will all go home now.” Local authorities said the military commander was in an “extremely serious” condition in intensive care.

The man, identified in the media as 25-year-old local resident Ruslan Zinin, was reportedly angry that a call was made to his best friend who had no combat experience – which authorities say is the main criteria for the draft.

In Ukraine, meanwhile, a Russian missile attack targeted a village in the southeast of the country. The attack hit an undisclosed village and the regional center of Zaporizhzhya, regional military official Oleksandr Starukh said online.

He posted photos of damaged buildings and said unspecified infrastructure had also been damaged and fires started from the attack.

Meanwhile, the first Russian troops mobilized by Moscow have started arriving at military bases, the British army said Monday.

In an online intelligence briefing, the British Ministry of Defense said “many tens of thousands” had been called up. However, the Russians face challenges ahead.

“Unlike most Western armies, the Russian military provides low-level initial training to soldiers within their designated operational units, rather than in dedicated training centers,” the British said.

Under normal circumstances, two battalions are deployed while a third remains behind for training. But in the war in Ukraine, even the third battalion is being deployed, weakening that training, the British said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that the Russian mobilization — the first such call since World War II — was a sign of weakness: “They admitted that their military is no longer capable of fighting Ukraine.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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