At least 10 people were killed and 55 were injured by Russian shelling in the southern city of Kherson on Saturday.
One of the rockets landed next to a supermarket in downtown Kherson, Yuriy Sobolevskyi, first deputy head of Kherson Oblast Council, said in a Telegram post. According to Ukraine’s Interior ministry, 66 cars were on fire after the shelling.
Russia is “killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a post on Telegram Saturday.
Photos of the strike — burning cars and what appeared to be corpses — were on the president’s Telegram account.
“Social networks will most likely mark these photos as ‘sensitive content,'” Zelenskyy wrote. “But this is not sensitive content — it is the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians.”
A pro-Moscow official responded by accusing Ukraine of launching the attack in order to blame Russia.
In a tweet, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the shelling of downtown Kherson “is not only another war crime, but also revenge on its residents who resisted the occupation and proved to the whole world that Kherson is Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged families in Europe, North America, and beyond to “spare a thought for Ukraine … which is fighting evil right now.”
In a video address Saturday evening, Zelenskyy said this Christmas there are no festivities in Ukraine.
“Dinner at the family table cannot be so tasty and warm. There may be empty chairs around it. And our houses and streets can’t be so bright,” he said.
But he added the path of the Ukrainian people is illuminated by faith and patience.
“We endured attacks, threats, nuclear blackmail, terror, missile strikes. Let’s endure this winter because we know what we are fighting for,” he said.
Also Saturday, two people were killed and five people were wounded in the Donetsk region, according to the regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Earlier Saturday, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia is facing a munitions shortage in its invasion of Ukraine.
The ministry said in an intelligence update Saturday that, “Despite the easing of its immediate personnel shortages, a shortage of munitions highly likely remains the key limiting factor on Russian offensive operations.”
“Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to around once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles,” the ministry said. “Similarly, Russia is unlikely to have increased its stockpile of artillery munitions enough to enable large-scale offensive operations.”
The British Defense Ministry said the munitions shortage made Russia vulnerable.
“A vulnerability of Russia’s current operational design is that even just sustaining defensive operations along its lengthy front line requires a significant daily expenditure of shells and rockets,” it said.
U.S. aid package
The U.S. House of Representatives Friday approved a $45 billion aid package for Ukraine. The measure, part of a $1.66 trillion government funding bill that passed the Senate a day earlier, will now go to U.S. President Joe Biden for signing into law. This package follows U.S. aid worth about $50 billion sent to Ukraine previously this year.
The move comes after Zelenskyy’s wartime visit to Washington this week.
Upon his return to Kyiv, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces “are working toward victory” despite Russia’s relentless artillery, rocket and mortar fire and airstrikes on Ukraine.
“We will overcome everything,” Zelenskyy pledged on Telegram. “We are coming back from Washington with … something that will really help.”
The U.S. promised Patriot missiles, something Zelenskyy has long sought to help counter Russian airstrikes, which have destroyed cities, towns and villages and knocked out power and water supplies across the country over the past three months.
Saturday marked 10 months since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Zelenskyy thanked Biden and the U.S. Congress for supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
U.S. officials say, however, that the single Patriot battery that Biden promised to supply to Ukraine will not change the course of the war.
Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze contributed to this report. Some material for this article came from The Associated Press, Reuters and the Agence France-Presse.