Fierce Ukrainian-Russian clashes as Moscow warns West – Vatican News

As Russia marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of risking a global armed conflict. In Ukraine, the war rages on.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Listen to Stefan Bos’ report

Ukraine’s Air Force said Thursday its systems destroyed 17 out of 20 attack drones that Russia launched targeting Ukrainian territory. The drones were reportedly destroyed over the Odesa area in Ukraine’s south. 

Yet the attack came as Russian troops advanced against Ukraine’s Western-backed forces. 

The reality of the ongoing fighting against Ukraine also became evident during commemorations marking the then-Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. 

Russian troops marched through Moscow in a ceremony boycotted by most Western countries, where Russian President Vladimir Putin accused what he called “arrogant” Western elites of forgetting the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in Nazi Germany’s defeat. 

He said that the West was risking a global armed conflict but warned that no one would be allowed to threaten the world’s biggest nuclear power. 

Putin, who was sworn into his fifth term as Russia’s president this week, also ordered Russian forces to rehearse deploying tactical nuclear weapons. 

These exercises were part of military drills to respond to what he called “threats” by the West.

Military training 

Nearby Lithuania suggested that Western countries send more military training personnel into Ukraine backed by ground-based air defense after France did not rule out sending ground troops amid Russia’s increasingly hostile rhetoric. 

While still struggling, Western-backed Ukraine is trying to fight back against Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022. 

Russian authorities said Thursday that a Ukrainian air attack on Russia’s Belgorod region injured eight people and damaged scores of residential buildings and cars. 

Among the wounded was an 11-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital, officials said. About 34 flats in 19 apartment buildings were reportedly damaged, as well as three dozen cars in the city of Belgorod, the region’s administrative center, in what appears to be a massive attack.

Ukrainian intelligence sources also say that drones launched by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, struck two oil depots near the town of Anapa in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, causing large-scale fires. 

The oil depots were allegedly used as transshipment points to supply fuel to Russian troops in the nearby occupied peninsula of Crimea.

While Ukraine’s parliament dismissed a deputy prime minister and a minister accused of financial wrongdoing, questions remain about whether changes at the top will improve Kyiv’s chances of winning the war against Russia. 

Several countries, including NATO military alliance member Hungary, have urged urgent peace talks to end the armed conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed and injured. 

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