Ukrainian Oil Refinery Targeted in Russian Assault. Image by - CT design team.

Ukrainian Oil Refinery Targeted in Russian Assault

Ukrainian authorities reported Wednesday that overnight drone strikes by Russia damaged an oil refinery in central Poltava

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Ukraine Crisis: US Tanks Arrive As Russia Bombs Vital Infrastructure

Relentless Russian aerial assaults on critical infrastructure continue across Ukraine even as the long-delayed delivery of US heavy tanks finally commences to aid Kyiv's fightback. Ukrainian authorities reported Wednesday that overnight drone strikes by Russia damaged an oil refinery in central Poltava.

While no casualties resulted, operations at the plant were temporarily suspended due to the bombing. Russian drones also struck the Dnipropetrovsk region according to the governor, damaging several homes. Ukraine claims at least 17 out of 24 drones used in the latest attacks were intercepted and destroyed by its air defenses.

US Sends M1 Abrams Tanks to Bolster Ukrainian Armor

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s efforts to break through Russia's defensive lines are set to receive a boost from the arrival of 31 promised US-made M1 Abrams tanks. At a defense summit Tuesday, the US announced the heavy armor is already in Europe and will reach Ukraine within days.

In this archival photograph, captured on October 21, 2019, an American soldier takes a leisurely stroll in the vicinity of Abrams battle tanks, located near Vilnius, Lithuania. Image by - AP

The Abrams' 120mm guns, advanced optics and defenses will provide Ukrainian forces formidable new capabilities to challenge Russian armor. Kyiv's troops have been conducting training on the high-tech tanks since June to operate them effectively.

The US has also supplied special depleted uranium rounds designed to penetrate the Soviet-era tanks fielded by Russia. Maintaining the complex Abrams in battlefield conditions poses challenges, but US officials say sufficient spare parts and remote maintenance assistance will help keep the tanks operational.

Despite a slow start, Ukraine's counteroffensive continues making steady gains according to NATO's secretary general. But ejecting Russia's occupying forces remains an arduous task likely involving months more of grueling combat.

Russia Retains Substantial Troop Strength in Ukraine

US General Mark Milley estimates Russia still has around 200,000 to 300,000 soldiers in Ukraine, although many lack thorough training. He asserts Ukraine retains the strategic initiative but must prepare for extended fighting into winter.

Milley argues Russia has made a grave strategic error invading Ukraine's free nation which remains unwilling to quit until regaining full independence. Ukraine has liberated over half of the territory Russia initially captured.

Beyond the incoming US tanks, Ukraine will soon commence Western fighter jet training and receive more armored vehicle pledges from allies. But Kyiv's requests for longer-range missiles to hit targets behind Russian lines remain unfulfilled so far.

Potential US Shutdown Threatens to Disrupt Aid Flows

Money to sustain Ukraine's defense could also face trouble if US lawmakers fail to avert a partial government shutdown by the October 1 funding deadline. Officials warn lethal aid deliveries face impairment from any temporary funding lapse.

Russia Strikes Humanitarian Site in Lviv

In western Ukraine near the Polish border, Russian aerial attacks struck Lviv city Tuesday including a warehouse storing crucial humanitarian supplies. One fatality was reported.

The UN's Ukraine humanitarian coordinator denounced the deliberate strike on the warehouse run by Catholic charity Caritas, which eliminated hundreds of tons of aid.

Overall, Ukraine intercepted 27 out of 30 Russian drones used in Tuesday's country-wide attacks. But the relentless long-range bombardment demonstrates Moscow's tactic of using its missile arsenal to paralyze infrastructure and terrorize civilians.

Kyiv has urgently requested more Western air defense systems to counter the aerial assault. But Russia retains capabilities to penetrate defenses through overwhelming strikes.

Eight months into its invasion, Russia exhibits no intent to abandon its war aims despite heavy losses. Ukraine's defiance persists but frustration grows over the pace of Western military assistance.

As tanks and equipment promised months earlier finally reach the front lines, the besieged nation hopes the weapons can help reverse the deadlocked conflict before winter allows Russia to solidify its gains.

Silence on Ukraine's Call for Long-Range Missiles

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly urged the West to provide long-range missiles capable of striking high-value Russian assets behind enemy lines, such as supply hubs, air bases and command centers.

The US-made Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) with a 300-km range could prove a game-changer, but Washington has so far declined to furnish such arms, fearing strikes into Russia itself. However, officials hint the policy could shift.

For now, the US and allies have focused on providing Ukraine large quantities of smaller, shorter-range weapons suited for the close combat dominating the theater.

But denying Kyiv the capability to hit Russian rear facilities grants Moscow relative sanctuary to stage attacks. It also limits Ukraine's options in applying pressure during negotiations.

The hesitance to take the leap into providing longer-range offensive arms reflects tense debate within the West over how far to go in confronting nuclear-armed Russia. But that balancing act is growing tougher to manage.

What is clear is that after massive material losses, Russia lacks the resources for renewed large offensives. Ukraine must press this precarious window of opportunity before time, weather, and global fatigue ossify the conflict into a bloody stalemate.

Each passing week sees Russian troops dig deeper into occupied areas, exacerbating liberation challenges. With Germany and the US finally overcoming reticence on heavy tanks, the focus shifts to Western capitals finding resolve on missiles needed to decisively tip strategic momentum in Ukraine's favor.

President Zelenskyy has honored his end of bargain demonstrating heroic resilience and battlefield efficacy. The country's unwavering courage amid devastation demands reciprocation by allies through further expanding aid. Half-measures will only prolong the conflict and suffering.

Now over eight draining months into the invasion, Ukraine's fighters have earned the West's full support. That requires overlooking studied risks and embracing Ukraine's vision for prevailing over Russian aggression. Half-hearted assistance only delays the inevitable reckoning. The time has come to provide the tools for victory.


Summarised from the original article by - voanews.com

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