Ukraine Says Russia Increasing Pace Of Attack In "Almost All Directions"
Ukraine's military command posted a public social media message warning the public that Russia is "increasing the pace of the offensive operation" which is coming "in almost all directions".
The Ukraine armed forces' statement said of the stepped up attacks that "in almost all directions, the Russian occupiers are exerting intense fire," with the most concentrated military activity "observed in [the] Slobozhansky and Donetsk directions" of Ukraine’s north and east. Starting earlier in the month Russia's defense ministry made it clear it's seeking full control primarily of Ukraine's east and south.
"Russian occupiers continue to suffer losses on land," the statement went on to say. "In the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts only, six enemy attacks have been repulsed in the past 24 hours, five tanks, one artillery system, twenty-two armored vehicles, one car and one anti-aircraft gun have been destroyed."
The warning to the public and to inform Kiev's Western backers come the day after Russia's President Putin threatened "lighting"-fast retaliatory strikes on "decision-making centers" if foreign countries meddle in the conflict. He said during an address before the Council of Legislators in St. Petersburg that the armed forces remain undeterred as "all the objectives will definitely be carried out" in the Ukraine operation, before warning:
"If someone intends to interfere in what is going on from the outside they must know that constitutes an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia.
"They must know that our response to counter-strikes will be lightning-fast."
Ukrainian officials have also said Russia has begun imposing parallel local governments, for example in the now fallen city of Kherson the Kremlin has appointed its own mayor and a pro-Russian administration over the region, which declared that Kherson's return to Ukrainian control is now "impossible".
Southern Axis Update Thread:#Russian forces continued to shell along the entire line of contact and reinforce forward positions in preparation for the likely resumption of offensive operations towards #Mykolayiv and Kryvyi Rih on April 27. 1/3https://t.co/aQY8uvGBVJ pic.twitter.com/gAMNOTd1YB— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) April 28, 2022
Since Tuesday the strategically crucial Kherson region is in full Russian control, and is expected to serve as a vital land bridge linking Crimea to pro-Russian separatist areas of the Donbas in the east.
Meanwhile there are growing fears that the war could soon spill outside of Ukraine's borders, into neighboring Moldova given rising tensions in the tiny breakaway region of Transnistria, where some 1,500 Russian troops have long been stationed.
BBC notes that tit-for-tat accusations are raging after a series of bombings under mysterious circumstances have rocked the territory:
Mysterious explosions in Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-controlled territory in Moldova bordering on Ukraine, have raised fears that the Ukraine conflict may be spreading.
Separatist authorities said Ukrainian "infiltrators" were responsible. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has blamed Russian special services.
Russia says it is concerned. It has about 1,500 troops in Transnistria. An official has said Russian-speakers in Moldova are being oppressed.
Video of Russian naval infantrymen clearing a building in Mariupol. https://t.co/lpDemdoyKE pic.twitter.com/5Vk0RgbOh2— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 28, 2022
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested Thursday that Russia could act to bring order to Transnistria, bringing Russia into more direct conflict with Moldova. "We are alarmed by the escalation of tension in Transnistria, where in recent days there have been several incidents of shelling, blowing up social and infrastructure facilities," she said. "We regard these actions as acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the situation."
These sporadic explosions earlier this week have been blamed on competing factions, though ultimately have remained murky in terms of responsibility and the attackers' intent. Some have also suggested 'false flags' designed to justify the Russian military's deepened involvement in Transistria and therefore Moldova.