Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu today gave the order to dramatically increase so-called shock and awe attacks on Ukraine.
He claimed Kremlin forces must ‘exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime inflicting massive rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of the Donbas and other regions,’ according to reports in Moscow.
It followed an on-the-ground inspection by Putin’s trusty defence minister – and a National Security Council meeting led by Vladimir Putin.
Maxim Zharyi, seven, and Victoria Rekuta, 35, were both killed in the sick attack on Thursday
Shoigu ‘gave instructions to further increase the actions of [military] groups in all operational areas’, local reports stated.
It was unclear whether the minister’s talks with military chiefs were in Russia or occupied Ukraine.
Shoigu’s ominous threat came as more details emerged of the tragic victims of Thursday’s sickening Russian strike on city Vinnytsya, western Ukraine.
The death toll now stands at 24.
Liza Dmitrieva, four, was in her pram when a ship-fired missile struck, killing her instantly
Pictures showed a seven-year-old boy whose remains could only be recognised from his DNA after he was hit by one of Putin’s missiles while attending a doctor’s appointment.
Alina Kisel, 25, was at work in a bank when the Russian missile hit, killing her
Maxim Zharyi died with his mother Victoria Rekuta, 35, a qualified dentist, in the shocking attack on a city hundreds of miles from the eastern frontline.
The pair had been to the Neuromed clinic, which was struck by a missile fired from a Russian warship in the Black Sea.
Ksenia Denisyuk, Victoria’s friend, said: ‘He was a wonder child, bright and kind.
‘Together they went to a clinic.
‘This was the moment when the terrorist country [Russia] hit the medical centre.
‘Maxim could be identified only with a DNA test.
Horror footage showed the scale of the destruction in the south-west Ukrainian town
‘The whole world should know that Russia is a terrorist state.’
Another boy, Kirill Pyakhin, eight, died in the rocket strike, as he waited in a parked car with his uncle while his grandmother went to get cash from a nearby bank.
This was the same attack in which little Liza Dmitrieva, four, was killed in her pushchair and her mother Irina, 33, left gravely wounded.
Kirill Pyakhin, eight, was waiting for his grandmother in a car with his uncle. He was killed
Alina Kisel, 35, was also killed as a tree fell due to the missile strike.
She was in the backyard of the bank where she worked and ‘died instantly’.
Four other bank workers were hospitalised.
Meanwhile Shoigu presented the Gold Star Hero of the Russia medals to Colonel-General Alexander Lapin and Major-General Esedulla Abachev.
A man sorts through his belongings in the aftermath of Thursday’s rocket attack on Vinnytsya
A 70-year-old woman was among three victims in an airstrike on Chuhuiv near Kharkiv overnight.
A regional police official said Russia fired four missiles from near western city of Belgorod at around 3.30am.
The strike damaged a two-story residential building, a school and a shop, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov said.
Ukraine’s shortened and straightened defensive line in the east has successfully repelled Russian attacks, according to the British Ministry of Defence.
Its daily intelligence update this morning stated that the ‘Ukrainian defence has been successful in repulsing Russian attacks since Lysychansk was ceded and the Ukrainian defensive line was shortened and straightened.’
It added: ‘This has allowed for the concentration of force and fires against reduced Russian attacks and has been instrumental in reducing Russia’s momentum.’
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