Russia shelled Nikolaev, Odessa, Kremenchug and Kyiv
On June 29, Russian troops fired on Nikolaev, 4 people were killed , the same number were injured. The mayor of the city, Vitaly Kim, said on the air of the Khodorkovsky LIVE YouTube channel that the Russians began to shell houses more actively, such a number of rockets at once, as in recent days, did not arrive even during the entire period of the war.
The increased shelling affected two more Ukrainian cities - Odessa and Kremenchug. According to the Telegraph correspondent, two powerful explosions thundered in Odessa on June 29, one of the missiles was shot down by air defense systems (air defense). The operational command "South" reported that Russia struck with an air-launched Kh-22 missile, which was fired from a Tu-22 aircraft towards the Black Sea.
The same Kh-22 missiles were also used by Russia in attacks on the shopping center in Kremenchug, which killed at least 18 civilians. At the same time, Russia, represented by the official representative of the country's Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, continues to deny its involvement in the deaths, calling Kiev's accusations "fake". The Ministry of Defense confirmed the strike on Kremenchuk, but the department claimed that Russia fired at the ammunition depot, the shopping center “did not function,” and the fire started due to “the detonation of ammunition stored nearby at the plant.” The blow, according to the Ministry of Defense, was inflicted on "hangars with weapons and ammunition received from the United States and European countries, in the area of the Kremenchug plant of road vehicles."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his address, speaking about the missile attack on the shopping center in Kremenchuk, said that "only absolutely frostbitten terrorists" could do this. He called Russia the largest terrorist organization in the world.
On June 26, Kiev was subjected to rocket fire. The shell hit a nine-story residential building in the Shevchenko district, the top three floors were destroyed. As a result of the shelling of a residential building, at least one person was killed, two were hospitalized. Also, the Russian military fired 24 rockets at the outskirts of Zhytomyr from planes that came from the territory of Belarus, said Mayor of Zhytomyr Sergei Sukhomlin. The head of the regional administration, Vitaly Bunechko, specified that 30 rockets were fired at the region, one soldier was killed, and another was wounded.
The authorities of the regions occupied by Russia are going to hold a referendum
The pro-Russian heads of the regions of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation announced the forthcoming referendums. So, the Kherson region has begun preparations for "joining" the Russian Federation, a "commission" has already been created in the region to hold a "referendum". Political scientist Abbas Gallyamov, in an interview with The Insider, said that the “Crimean scenario”, when the territory was annexed after a local referendum, will not work with other regions. Moreover, in his opinion, the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin may threaten a new war.
“It is theoretically possible to try to annex Kherson and other territories, but it is not a fact that they will be able to be kept in a purely military sense of the word. It is obvious that Ukraine, de facto resigned to the loss of Crimea, and even perhaps ready to lose part of the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, will never reconcile with the loss of Kherson or any other land.
The military capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as it turned out, are in no way inferior to Russian ones, and if we talk about the long term, then, taking into account the factor of foreign aid, they surpass them. In addition, unlike Crimea, here, of course, one cannot expect loyalty from the local population. In general, therefore, it will not be a big exaggeration to say that by annexing new territories, Putin is buying a ticket for the Russians to the next war. Realizing this, the Kremlin cannot make a final decision. So it keeps getting delayed."
At the NATO summit, Russia was called a direct threat to security
While the occupied regions are preparing for "referenda", the second day of the NATO summit is taking place in Madrid, at which the heads of state and government of the alliance adopted a new Strategic Concept. According to TASS, it named Russia as the most significant and direct threat to the security of the alliance due to the invasion of Ukraine (China was named as a less direct threat to NATO).
“The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to the security of allies and peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region,” the new concept of the alliance says. Russia also “seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion” and uses “conventional, cybernetic and hybrid means against us and our partners.” In addition, Moscow is modernizing its nuclear forces and aims to destabilize countries east and south of NATO: “Moscow’s military buildup, including in the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean regions, along with its military integration with Belarus, poses a challenge to our security and interests."
Putin as an advertisement for joining NATO
NATO invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.
“Today we decided to invite Finland and Sweden to join NATO and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols,” the statement said.
Turkey has ceased to object to their membership, and the alliance itself announced that the three countries have signed a memorandum that confirms Turkey's intention to support the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the potential entry of new countries into NATO should serve as a "signal" to Putin that the alliance remains ready to accept new countries, and Putin himself, who demanded NATO's refusal to expand, achieved the opposite with the war in Ukraine.
Both Russia and Ukraine began to report on the preparation of "provocations"
The transition of the conflict into an active phase is also evidenced by information about supposedly preparing provocations. On June 29, the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response of the Russian Federation announced that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were planning to use chemical weapons against the civilian population in the Odessa region. Ukraine will allegedly poison its own citizens in order to then blame Russia for this, the headquarters claims.
At the same time, the Russian Defense Ministry reports that “militants of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions are planning to launch rocket attacks from residential areas of Krivoy Rog at the regional hospital” in order to provoke return fire and accuse Russia of destroying the Ukrainian civilian population.
However, so far, it is Russia that is suspected of using chemical weapons in Ukraine. On April 11, in Mariupol, according to the Azov Regiment, a chemical weapon was struck at the Azovstal plant, which was defended by the Ukrainian military. In the past, Russia regularly made propaganda statements about the use of chemical weapons in various countries, and also accused Western countries of falsifying reports of chemical attacks against civilians.
The Ukrainian side, in turn, announced a few days ago that Russia was preparing a provocation. The GUR reported that Russia was planning to blow up residential buildings, a hospital and a school in the town of Mozyr in the Gomel region of Belarus in order to drag the republic into the war. According to the GUR, sabotage groups, which include Russian intelligence officers and mercenaries from private military companies controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, arrived in the city from Russia under the guise of civilians to carry out a provocation. As Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine, former deputy chairman of the SBU Viktor Yagun told The Insider, if Ukraine wanted to hit some object in Mozyr, it would be the Mozyr oil refinery, not residential buildings.