Military experts believe Moscow faces ammunition shortages

Ukraine condemns Russian missile strikes on civilians. Pakhmut's defenses hold up

The satellite image shows an overview of the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine. From the source

Kiev expressed disgust at the targeting of civilians after a barrage of Russian missiles fell on Ukrainian cities, in the first such attacks in weeks, and vowed to withstand and defiant, as Ukrainian forces defending the eastern city of Pakhmot continued to repel Russian infiltration attempts.

Ukraine's military said its soldiers had repelled more than 100 attacks over the past 24 hours in Bakhmut, a city where Russian forces have been concentrating since August.

A barrage of rockets before dawn on Thursday killed at least nine civilians and cut power to several cities, but there was general relief thanks to the reduced risk of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhia reactor after electricity was restored to the site after it was briefly disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid.

Ukraine said its defenses shot down several drones and missiles, but Russia also fired six Kinjal hypersonic missiles at them that it could not stop in any way.

Moscow confirmed it had used the missiles in Thursday's attack.

The large-scale strikes on targets far from the front line were the first such wave since mid-February and ended a lull in a campaign of air strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure launched by Russia five months ago.

For his part, the head of the Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary, announced yesterday the opening of 58 recruitment centers in 42 Russian cities, as his men stand on the front lines of the bloody fight aimed at controlling Bakhmaut in Ukraine.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, as quoted by the press office of his company Concorde on Telegram, said: "In 42 cities in the Russian Federation, recruitment centers have been opened for Wagner."

In London, military experts agreed that Russia's efforts to advance its fight against Ukrainian forces were likely to be severely hampered by ammunition shortages.

The daily intelligence update, released by the British Ministry of Defence, said yesterday that Russia is running out of missiles.

An analysis of Thursday's multiple rocket attacks on Ukraine showed a variety of projectiles selected, some of which had been misused.

Russia now needs to assemble a large mass of modern missiles before it has the means to strike large enough to beat Ukraine's air defenses.

On the other hand, the United States yesterday accused Russia of trying to destabilize Moldova, especially by using street protests to eventually bring about a pro-Moscow government. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters: "We believe Russia is pursuing options to weaken the Moldovan government, likely with the aim of seeing a Russian-friendly administration."

The Kremlin accused the United States of stoking anti-Russian sentiment among thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Georgia this week.

Referring to a statement made by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili from New York in support of the protesters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "she is talking to her people not from Georgia, but from America," saying that a visible hand serves to provoke anti-Russian sentiment.

• The Wagner Group opens 58 recruitment centers in 42 Russian cities.