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Ukraine, US Say Rocket Strikes Significantly Slowing Down Russia

Russian military vehicles move through the city of Mariupol on July 15, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.
Russian military vehicles move through the city of Mariupol on July 15, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials say U.S. rocket systems provided to Ukraine are having a large impact in the fight against Russia, helping Ukrainian forces to hold off Russia’s military in the eastern Donbas region.

A senior U.S. military official speaking on the condition of anonymity Friday to discuss the war said U.S.-supplied rocket systems known as HIMARS are having “a very, very significant effect” in the fight against Russia.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry spokesperson, Oleksandr Motuzianyk, also singled out the role played by the HIMARS long-range rocket systems.

"In the last weeks, over 30 of the enemy's military logistical facilities have been destroyed, as a result of which the attacking potential of Russian forces has been significantly reduced," Motuzianyk said Friday on national television.

The U.S.-supplied rockets are more precise than Ukraine's Soviet-era artillery and have a longer range, allowing Ukraine to hit Russian targets farther back from the front line.

The senior U.S. official said “Russian forces are limited to incremental if any gains” in the Donbas region and are being held off by Ukrainian forces.

The U.S. official also dismissed Russia’s claim that it targeted a military meeting in Ukraine’s central city of Vinnytsia on Thursday in an attack on an office building that Kyiv says killed 23 people, including children.

"I have no indication that there was a military target anywhere near that," the official said.

Russia's Defense Ministry said Friday it was targeting a meeting between military officials and foreign arms suppliers.

In his daily address late Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that after the attacks on Vinnytsia and elsewhere, “the occupiers must feel what a fair response to terror means.” He said, “In particular, it will be felt thanks to sanctions. Of course, the armed forces of Ukraine will certainly provide their part of the answer. The occupiers will have no restful nights.”

Much of the fighting in Ukraine is currently centered in the eastern Donbas region. Russian forces, however, also regularly fire on cities in many other parts of the country, including on Thursday in Vinnytsia, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines.

Ukraine said the strike on the central city was carried out by cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea.

Among the dead was a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome, whose image has gone viral. Ukrainian officials say more than 100 people were wounded in the attack.

Rescue teams searched Friday through the debris for people still missing. Residents of the city created a makeshift memorial with flowers and teddy bears.

Late Friday, Russian missiles hit the central city of Dnipro, killing three people and wounding 15 others, governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Telegram. The governor said a factory and surrounding streets were hit.

Ukraine’s air force said it intercepted four additional missiles fired at Dnipro.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.