There is "a realistic possibility" that Russia attempted to intercept Ukraine's supply route during its first major mass strike in nearly two months, on April 28, the U.K. Defense Ministry said.
In its intelligence bulletin published on April 29, the U.K. Defense Ministry said that Russia was likely trying to "intercept Ukrainian reserve units and military supplies recently provided to Ukraine" in contrast to previous mass strikes that targeted energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
Russia's overnight missile strike on April 28 killed at least 25 people in the central cities of Uman and Dnipro, where apartment buildings were targeted. Six children were among the killed, including a two-year-old girl in Dnipro – a few hundred kilometers from the front line.
The capital Kyiv also came under attack for the first time in over 50 days, but the Kyiv Military Administration on April 28 reported air defense shooting down 11 cruise missiles.
Ukraine's Air Force said that Russian forces attacked Ukraine at around 4 a.m. on April 28 using Tu-95 strategic aircraft from the Caspian Sea area. It added that Ukraine shot down 21 of the 23 Russian Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles fired at the country, in addition to two drones.
"The attacks suggest a departure in Russia’s use of long-range strikes," the U.K. Defense Ministry said. "The wave involved fewer missiles than those over the winter and was unlikely to have been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure."
The April 28 mass strike comes as anticipations of a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive mount, with more Western-provided weapons and equipment arriving in the country each week. President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday pledged that "there will be a counteroffensive," but the timeframe remains unclear.
Amid backlash on the mass strike from the West and Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the deadly attack, which killed children and severely damaged apartment buildings, targeted "temporary deployment" of the Ukrainian military's reserve units and that "the target has been reached."
Ukraine condemned Russia's mass strike, calling it Moscow's "response to all peace initiatives."
"The way to peace is to kick Russia out of Ukraine. The way to peace is to arm Ukraine with F-16 (fighter jets) and protect children from Russian terror," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.
According to the Prosecutor General's Office, at least 475 Ukrainian children have been killed since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war. The real death toll is expected to be higher, as Ukraine still does not have access to the currently Russian-occupied territories, such as Mariupol.