Ukraine: Exhaust a country defending itself


Thank you, your comment will be visible after it has been approved.


February 10, 2023

Ukraine: Exhaust a country defending itself

  • Dispatches from Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • war

Russian rockets and missiles that destroy civilian and military facilities fall on the country every day. As calculated by the Ukrainian weekly Nowoje Wremia, Russia launched almost a hundred rockets towards Ukraine between June 25-27 alone.

Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine

The city park seemed quiet on a sunny June afternoon. A few pedestrians—or at least not many of them can be seen in the video recorded by surveillance cameras published by the Ukrainian authorities—were strolling around the pond. This calm is suddenly interrupted by something. People run, some look at the sky, probably noticing a flying rocket, and after a moment fall to the ground, hide behind trees, jump into the water—which is disturbed by the shock wave—then by numerous fragments falling on its surface as if a heavy rain had suddenly come.

On June 27,  for the sixth time since the beginning of the full-scale war initiated by Russia, missiles fell on Kremenchuk, a city in the Poltava region in central Ukraine that was until February inhabited by 217,000 people.

Three days later, rescuers are still digging up the debris and dismantling the remains of the Kremenchuk shopping center. Although over 40 people have still not been found, there is not much hope that they will be found alive. In the afternoon, when there were over a thousand people in the building, a rocket struck nearby. At least 19 people were killed as a result. The remains of at least 8 were found during search and rescue. At least 61 people were injured by the blast.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, strategic objectives were the targets of the missile attack. The Kredmasz road machinery factory (a part of it was damaged and two of its employees injured), where Ukrainian military equipment was allegedly repaired. Factory management assures that the last military vehicle left the factory toward the end of the 1980s. The shopping center on the other hand was, according to the Russians, a warehouse for military machines, and the railway was to transport them to the front. They likely missed the latter.

The attack on Kremenchuk was just one of many that Ukraine has experienced recently. As calculated by the Ukrainian weekly Nowoje Wremia, Russia launched almost a hundred rockets towards Ukraine between June 25-27. Beyond Kremenchuk, their targets were Kharkiv in the east, Mykolaiv and Odessa Oblast in the south (8 wounded), Kyiv (1 killed, 6 wounded), Cherkasy (1 killed, 5 wounded), Chernihiv and Zhytomyr Oblasts (1 killed, 1 wounded) and, in the west, the Lviv (4 wounded) and Rivne Oblasts (4 killed, 7 wounded).

The following days brought more news about attacks as well as shelling carried out in the border regions of Chernihiv and Kharkiv. Targets located far from the front in eastern and southern Ukraine are also regularly attacked.

After military success turned out to be much more difficult than initially anticipated, the Kremlin set its sights on long-term goals: destroying industry, agriculture, logistics and facilities, disregarding the potential for civilian casualties. This is intended to exhaust a country defending itself and its society. So that Ukrainians live with a constant sense of danger and, in a few months time, exhausted, accept conditions that are unfavorable to them.

As the Ukrainian historian Yaroslav Hrytsak said recently in an interview for TP, whoever can stay on their feet longer will win this war.

This text was originally published in Polish in Tygodnik Powszechny.

Translated from Polish by Lukasz ChelminskiThis piece is part of the DS collection: Dispatches from Ukraine.


Leave a reaction with this article