Russian forces fire barrage of missiles at northern Ukraine from Belarus

Strikes hit Chernihiv region as well as locations outside Kyiv and around city of Zhytomyr, say officials

A barrage of 25 missiles has been fired by Russian forces at northern regions of Ukraine from neighbouring Belarus as the Ukrainian southern offensive appears to be gathering pace.

The early morning wave of missile strikes launched from the territory of Russia’s key ally hit targets in the Chernihiv region, including an apartment block, as well as locations outside Kyiv and around the city of Zhytomyr, according to Ukrainian officials and Belarusian opposition figures.

The Chernihiv regional governor, Viacheslav Chaus, said nine missiles had struck close to the village of Honcharivska with some falling in the forest nearby.

The strikes came as Ukraine celebrated Statehood Day for the first time. In a national message, the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “Restless morning. Again – missile terror. We will not give up. We will not give up. Do not intimidate us. Ukraine is an independent, free, indivisible state. And it will always be like that.”

❗️Missile launches from Ziabrauka airfield in the morning of July 28.
The photos show missile launches from Ziabrauka airfield (Gomel district). We note that up to 10 S-300/400 SAM systems and presumably at least 2 Iskander systems are still deployed at the airfield.

— Belarusian Hajun project (@MotolkoHelp) July 28, 2022

Activists who track Russian military moves in Belarus said the missile launches came from Ziabrauka airfield near Gomel, prompting calls for increased sanctions against Belarus.

The Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, condemned the latest escalation from Belarus.

“Horrified to see how Russia continues to use Belarus to attack Ukraine,” she tweeted. “At least 25 missiles were launched from Belarus targeting Kyiv, Chernihiv & other cities this morning. Lukashenka can’t fool anyone. He is guilty of crimes against Belarusians & Ukrainians & must be held accountable.”

British defence and intelligence officials said on Thursday that a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s south had virtually cut off the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson and left thousands of Russian troops stationed near the Dnieper River “highly vulnerable”.


Ukraine has made clear it intends to recapture Kherson, which fell to Russia in the early days of the invasion, launched by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on 24 February.

“Russia’s 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the [Dnieper] River, now looks highly vulnerable,” it said in a regular intelligence bulletin. “Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.”

Witness accounts from Russian-occupied southern areas of Ukraine suggest Moscow has been trying to move columns of equipment to reinforce its troops there, as well as noting a marked increase in Russian military flights.

However, stretched between its attempts to continue its struggling offensive in Donbas and defend the south, Russia appears to be deploying ill-trained troops and in some cases vehicles with homemade armour.

Underlining the vulnerability of Russian forces in and around Kherson, images emerged on social media of a ferry being operated on the Dnieper to replace the damaged Antonivskiy Bridge – one of the main routes into the city – which was badly damaged by a Ukrainian missile strike early on Wednesday.

Horrified to see how 🇷🇺 continues to use Belarus to attack 🇺🇦. At least 25 missiles were launched from Belarus targeting Kyiv, Chernihiv & other cities this morning. Lukashenka can't fool anyone. He is guilty of crimes against Belarusians & Ukrainians & must be held accountable.

— Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) July 28, 2022

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, earlier tweeted that Russia was concentrating “the maximum number of troops” in the direction of the Kherson but gave no details.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskiy, said Russia was conducting a “massive redeployment” of forces from the east to the south in what amounted to a strategic shift from attack to defence.

Zelenskiy said Ukraine would rebuild the Antonivskiy Bridge and other crossings in the region.

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“We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country,” he said in his Wednesday evening address.

Russian officials had earlier said they would turn instead to pontoon bridges and ferries to get forces across the river.

Russian-backed forces on Wednesday said they had captured the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant, Ukraine’s second-largest, in what was Moscow’s first significant gain in more than three weeks.


Peter Beaumont in Kyiv

The GuardianTramp

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