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Ukraine war latest: Russian attack on Dnipro shopping center kills 5, injures 53

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 3, 2024 11:37 PM 9 min read
A shopping mall is being damaged by the Russian missile strike in Dnipro, Ukraine, on July 3, 2024. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Key developments on July 3:

  • Shopping center hit in Russian attack on Dnipro, killing 5, injuring 53
  • Russian defector involved in Russia's Baltic Fleet vessel sabotage, military intelligence says
  • Zelensky says Trump should reveal plan on ending Russia's war
  • US announces new defense aid package for Ukraine worth $150 million
  • Ukrainian drone attack damaged Russia's only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise, source says
  • Russian guided bomb attack on Kharkiv injures at least 14, including children

At least five people were killed and 53 injured after Russia launched drones and missiles against Dnipro on July 3, officials said.

A shopping center was hit, as well as multiple cars and a gas station, said Mykola Lukashuk, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast regional council.

A fire reportedly broke out near a medical facility. Debris flew into an intensive care unit of a children's hospital, but no casualties were reported there, Mayor Borys Filatov said.

Windows were broken in two schools and three kindergartens, the mayor added.

The injured victims included a 14-year-old girl, Governor Serhii Lysak reported. Around a dozen of the injured have been hospitalized, two of whom are in serious condition, the governor noted.

"(Russia) attacked Dnipro with missiles and attack drones," the governor said.

"Several fires broke out, there is damage."

The Air Force said that Russia launched a large-scale attack against Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, during which Ukrainian defenses downed an Iskander-K cruise missile, four Kh-59 guided aerial missiles, five Shahed-type drones, and one Orlan reconnaissance drone.

"Only two things can stop Russian terror – modern air defenses and long-range weapons," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in the wake of the attack.

Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth-largest city, has served as a key logistics and humanitarian hub during the full-scale war.

Russian forces have carried out a number of deadly attacks against the city and the surrounding region since 2022.

Three people were killed and at least 12 injured after a Russian missile attack hit a nine-story building in Dnipro on June 28.

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Russian defector involved in Russia's Baltic Fleet vessel sabotage, military intelligence says

The sabotage of a Russian vessel in Kaliningrad Oblast in April was part of a joint operation of the Freedom of Russia Legion and Ukraine's military intelligence project "I Want to Live," the agency revealed at a press conference on July 3 attended by a Kyiv Independent reporter.

The Russian missile ship Serpukhov was set on fire on April 8 while docked off the Kaliningrad exclave. The sabotage completely destroyed its communication and automation systems, necessitating lengthy repairs, military intelligence said.

"Certain Russian citizens carried out this brave and risky operation, which caused serious damage to the Russian fleet and revealed the current state of the Russian army," military intelligence said.

A then-active service member of the Russian Baltic Fleet provided information crucial for carrying out the Rybalka ("Fishing") operation, according to the statement.

Once the person's continued stay on the vessel became too risky, the sabotage was carried out. The Russian service member also seized confidential materials and was subsequently evacuated from Russia through the "I Want to Live" project.

According to the website of the Russian Navy, the Serpukhov is a Buyan-M missile corvette, is 74 meters long (242 feet), and contains a variety of different weapons systems.

While Ukrainian attacks have reportedly disabled roughly one-third of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, this was the first attack targeting a ship of the Baltic Fleet, whose bases lie hundreds of kilometers from Ukraine.

The defector, introduced under the code name "Goga," was present at the press conference. He said he had joined the Freedom of Russia Legion as a recruit and is undergoing training.

"Now I am in Ukraine. I will train and start fighting against (Vladimir) Putin's regime with weapons in my hands," "Goga" said.

The defector, introduced by the military intelligence agency under the code name "Goga," is now on Ukrainian territory as a recruit of the Freedom of Russia Legion and undergoing training, the agency said.

The Legion is one of the several anti-Kremlin Russian militias who fight on Ukraine's side and have carried out several cross-border raids into Russian territory.

Ukraine's military intelligence launched the "I Want to Live" project in 2022 to help Russian soldiers desert or defect to the Ukrainian side.

One of the most high-profile defections took place in August 2023, when a Russian pilot named Maksim Kuzminov surrendered along with his Mi-8 helicopter.

Kuzminov was found dead in Spain in February 2024, with the circumstances of his death resembling previous Moscow-contracted killings.

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Zelensky says Trump should reveal plan on ending Russia's war

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Donald Trump should reveal his plan for ending Russia's war against Ukraine so Kyiv can be prepared for any risks such a plan might entail.

The former president has promised to end Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine within 24 hours if elected but has not publicly elaborated on how he plans to do so. One plan reportedly involves ceding territory to Russia.

"If Trump knows how to finish this war, he should tell us today," Zelensky told Bloomberg Television in an interview published on July 3.

"If there are risks to Ukrainian independence, if we lose statehood — we want to be ready for this, we want to know... We want to understand whether in November we will have the powerful support of the US, or will be all alone."

Zelensky also said he is "potentially ready" to meet with Trump to listen to his team's proposals.

Trump is also reportedly considering the possibility of making a deal with Russia to block the future NATO accession of certain countries, namely Ukraine and Georgia, Politico reported on July 2, citing unnamed officials.

One of the sources told Politico that Trump "would be open to something foreclosing NATO expansion and not going back to the 1991 borders for Ukraine."

Andriy Yermak, the Presidential Office head, said Ukraine will not compromise its values or territorial integrity to end the war with Russia.

Russia illegally annexed Crimea and invaded Donbas in 2014. In September 2022, Putin illegally declared the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian oblasts: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.

Moscow does not currently occupy all of the territory in the four regions.

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US announces new defense aid package for Ukraine worth $150 million

The U.S. Defense Department announced on July 3 a new package of military aid worth $150 million to provide Ukraine with capabilities including air defense interceptors.

The package also includes ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), artillery rounds, and other critical capabilities drawn from U.S. stocks, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Military aid provided by the U.S. in the "last few months has been critical in helping Ukrainians defend their territory against Russian advances," Jean-Pierre said.

The new military package comes from Presidential Drawdown Authority, a mechanism that allows the president to deliver weaponry to allies from current U.S. stockpiles.

According to the Defense Department, the package also includes missiles for HAWK air defense systems, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, 81mm mortar rounds, tactical vehicles, and Javelin systems.

In addition, the U.S. will use approximately $2.2 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds to purchase interceptors for Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems, the Defense Department said.

"As previously announced, the Biden Administration plans to accelerate delivery of these munitions by resequencing upcoming Foreign Military Sales deliveries for Ukraine," the Defense Department said.

"As a result, Ukraine will be provided with the interceptors it urgently needs to protect its people and critical infrastructure against Russia's aerial attacks."

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Ukrainian drone attack damaged Russia's only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise, source says

A Ukrainian drone attack on July 1 seriously damaged the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant in Belgorod Oblast, a military intelligence source told the Kyiv Independent on July 3.

Ukrainian forces regularly conduct drone strikes and sabotage acts on Russian territory, targeting military assets, oil refineries, and industrial facilities.

The plant is located in the area of the Stariy Oskol city, nearly 115 km (72 miles) from the Ukraine-Russia border. It is the only full-cycle metallurgical enterprise in Russia, according to the source.

The facility is vital for the Russian military-industrial complex, the source noted.

The operation was reportedly carried out jointly by Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) and the Foreign Intelligence Service. The source described the scale of damage from the Ukrainian attack as "serious."

Work at the plant was suspended after Ukrainian "kamikaze" drones hit two major power substations near the villages of Neznamovo and Volokonovskoye in Belgorod Oblast.

The Metallurgicheskaya substation near the Volokonovskoye village is one of the largest power substations in Europe, the source said.

The strikes resulted in a complete blackout at the plant, shutting down all electric arc furnaces with frozen metal inside. The furnaces need to be completely cleaned and the arc elements to be replaced to restart. It could take several months, the source told the Kyiv Independent.

"Some of the plant's employees believe that the furnaces will have to be replaced with new ones. Considering that the plant was built by German specialists using German technology, it will likely be difficult to restart the plant's operations without their participation," the source added.

The facility produces high-quality steel, including alloyed specialty steels (SBQ), for the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. It uses the blast-free direct reduction technology MIDREX and electric arc melting.

The plant's products are used by GAZ, UAZ, and KamAZ, among other Russian military-industrial enterprises.

The Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant, as well as its owner, Metalloinvest company, were included in the sanctions lists of the U.S. and U.K. in April 2023 in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

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Russian guided bomb attack on Kharkiv injures at least 14, including children

Russian troops attacked the city of Kharkiv with guided aerial bombs on July 3, injuring at least 14 people, including children, Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office reported.

A residential area in the Kyivskyi district of the city came under attack. At least three guided aerial bombs destroyed two houses, according to Governor Oleh Syniehubov.

A woman and two men, aged 74, 75 and 38, suffered injuries, as well as an eight-year-old boy who was rescued from the rubble and a two-week-old child, the authorities said.

Moscow has intensified attacks against Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, as well as Kharkiv Oblast, with the use of missiles, glide bombs, and drones, destroying energy infrastructure and killing civilians.

Russia's attack on a postal depot in Kharkiv with a guided aerial bomb on June 30 killed one person and injured nine others, the authorities reported.

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