Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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230503154849 01 ukraine russia strikes analysis hp video Live updates: Russia's war in Ukraine

For days now, the blasts have echoed the condition each country’s military is in.

Ukraine is apparently striking at fuel depots in Russian-occupied areas and inside Russia itself — seemingly precise attacks but ones to which Kyiv is making no overt claim.

Russia has been lashing out at what often seem to be civilian targets in Ukraine, either in rage or through ineptitude. In Uman, more than 20 people died; in Pavlohrad, there were two dead and many injured.

In Kherson on Wednesday, three were killed when a crowded hypermarket was hit at 11 in the morning. And in Zaporizhzhia, two rockets slammed into a quiet residential garden that same overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, leaving a crater in a genteel, freshly sculpted lawn.

Nobody died in this last strike, but perhaps only because the first missile sent two families rushing for cover before the second struck.

During the night, the city of Zaporizhzhia was blasted with repeated air raid sirens — a familiar noise in the past months, but this time accompanied by explosions, suggesting Moscow’s escalation, as Russian forces apparently send S300 missiles into cities, according to local officials and accounts.

We don’t often know when Russia hits a military target in Ukraine, but the number of strikes on civilian targets suggests either extreme negligence and inaccuracy, or a tactic of intentionally terrifying ordinary people.

A pattern is forming, outside of Moscow’s repeated disregard for human life. Night by night, each side appears to be trying to weaken the other.

The Ukrainian strikes have hit obvious infrastructure targets — railroad tracks, huge fuel depots — which suggest both how researched their coming campaign is, and how poorly prepared Russia is. It is still, for the most part, doing things in the same old, obvious way.

The signals ahead of Ukraine’s long-heralded counteroffensive are getting louder. For two weeks, a slight uptick in clashes has been reported by pro-Russian officials along the Zaporizhzhia front lines, through which Kyiv’s forces will likely have to push if they are to separate the occupied peninsula of Crimea from the rest of occupied Ukraine — a key strategic goal. It is unclear if this uptick is Ukraine probing, or business as usual — and that is entirely the point.

Read the full analysis here.

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