Ukraine, readying its forces for an expected spring counter-offensive
A Russian missile hit a museum building in a Ukrainian city on Tuesday, killing at least two people and wounding 10 others, as Ukraine is readying its forces for an expected spring counter-offensive. Ukrainian officials said the Russian military used S-300 air defense missiles to attack Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, hitting the museum of local history in the city center.
Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video from the site that shows the ruined building and emergency responders examining the damage. Zelenskyy said that a museum worker was killed, and Kharkiv regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov later reported that the body of another victim was pulled from under the rubble.
Kupiansk was captured by Russian forces in the earlier stages of the Russian invasion but was reclaimed by Ukrainian forces in a surprise counter-offensive in September that saw the Russians driven out of broad swaths of the Kharkiv region. The Ukrainian military is now preparing for a new massive counter-offensive, relying on the latest supplies of Western battle tanks and other weapons and fresh troops that were trained in the West.
Zelenskyy on Tuesday met with the top military brass to discuss the battlefield situation as well as prospects for new weapons supplies and the preparation of troops. The Kremlin, meanwhile, has regularly reminded the West about Russia’s nuclear arsenal in a bid to discourage the U.S. and its allies from ramping up weapons supplies to Ukraine. The U.S. and its NATO allies have denounced Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric as dangerous and irresponsible but noted that they haven’t seen any change in Russia’s nuclear posture.
On Tuesday, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, warned that “the world is likely on the verge of another world war” and declared that Moscow wouldn’t hesitate to use nuclear weapons if it faced an existential threat. Medvedev described atomic weapons as pivotal for Russia’s survival, saying that “for our country, the nuclear weapons are the joint holding the state together.”