Russian military launched ‘at least 100 missiles’ at end of June with strikes up

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The Russian military launched an increased number of missile strikes in Ukraine toward the end of June, with some of them striking heavily populated civilian structures.

U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Michael Carpenter, told the Special Permanent Council on Tuesday that Russian forces had launched “at least 100 missiles” during the final weekend of June. A Pentagon official confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday that there was an “uptick” in attacks recently.

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“The Kremlin has shown it has one objective, and one objective only: attempt to gain through fear what it cannot achieve on the battlefield — the subjugation of Ukraine,” Carpenter explained. “The Kremlin’s message is clear: For as long as this war continues, no part of Ukraine will be safe from the brutality of the Russian government and its armed forces, the depravity of Russia’s leadership, and the callousness of Russia’s paid apologists in this council.”

The recent strikes occurred across the country, hitting civilian infrastructure in 17 of Ukraine’s 24 oblasts, or regions, though Carpenter singled out two, one in Odesa and the other in Kremenchuk, each of which resulted in approximately 20 dead and more wounded.

A Russian airstrike killed at least 21 people when it hit residential areas last Friday in the key port city of Odesa, while a Kremenchuk mall was hit during busy hours that left at least 18 civilians dead. Both strikes incurred widespread condemnation from Ukrainian and Western leaders, while Russian officials denied hitting the mall, a tactic the Kremlin has used repeatedly throughout the war.

“The scenes of carnage from Odesa and Kremenchuk are so abhorrent that I, for one, am starting to feel as if our vocabulary — the words we use in this council — is simply not adequate to render the true human impact of these dastardly acts, which are occurring day after day and week after week,” he added. “Dozens of men, women, and children crushed under a residential building and ripped apart in a recreation center hit by Russian missiles in Odesa oblast. Scores of shoppers in Kremenchuk incinerated by another missile launched from a Russian long-range bomber.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the strike “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history.”

“Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on Earth, can strike missiles at such an object,” he added. “And this is not an off-target missile strike. This is a calculated Russian strike — exactly at this shopping mall.”

The prosecutor general of Ukraine, whose office is handling war crimes investigations nationwide including these two strikes, is investigating more than 21,000 allegations, including more than 20,000 for allegedly breaking the laws and customs of war, according to its website.

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Carpenter, who is closer to the front lines than most government officials, has repeatedly issued public rebukes of what has happened during the first four-plus months of the war and what could continue to occur.

He warned on June 10 that Russia could hold “sham” referendums in captured cities to appoint friendly leaders, specifically in Kherson, which he described as “the Kremlin’s laboratory of horrors.” The ambassador also said that attacks on Ukraine’s cultural sites appeared “systematic” to him, though he specified that he was speaking in his personal capacity and not as an expert.