KYIV, Ukraine — A new round of rocket fire hit the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye on Tuesday, as the death toll from extensive Russian rocket fire on Ukraine the previous day rose to 19.

In Zaporozhye, rockets fired at a school, a medical facility and residential buildings, Anatoly Kurtsev, the secretary of the city council, said. The State Emergency Service reported that 12 S-300 missiles hit public facilities, causing a large fire in the area. One person died.

The S-300 was originally developed as a long-range surface-to-air missile. Russia is increasingly turning to the use of repurposed versions of the weapon to strike ground targets.

Early morning air raid warnings spread across the country, sending some residents back to shelters after months of relative calm in the capital and many other cities. The earlier lull had forced many Ukrainians to ignore the regular sirens, but Monday’s attacks gave them a new urgency.

In addition to the usual sirens, residents of the capital city of Kyiv early on Tuesday were shocked by a new type of loud alarm that sounded automatically from mobile phones. The caustic alert was accompanied by a text message about the possibility of a missile strike.

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The State Emergency Service reported that 19 people were killed and 105 injured on Monday as a result of rocket attacks on critical infrastructure facilities in Kyiv and 12 other regions. More than 300 cities were cut off from the capital of Ukraine to Lviv on the border with Poland. Many of the attacks took place far from the front lines of the war.

As Ukraine’s troops grow emboldened after a string of battlefield successes, the cornered Kremlin is stepping up Cold War-era rhetoric and stoking concerns that it could widen the war and draw more combatants into the war.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rabkov warned on Tuesday that Western military aid to Kiev, including training Ukrainian troops in NATO countries and providing Ukraine with real-time satellite data to target Russian forces, was “increasingly drawing Western countries into the conflict from Kiev’s side.” . regime”.

Rabkov said in a comment to the state agency RIA-Novosti that “Russia will be forced to take appropriate countermeasures, including asymmetric ones.” He said that although Russia is “not interested in a direct confrontation” with the United States and NATO, “we hope that Washington and other Western capitals are aware of the dangers of uncontrolled escalation.”

Rabkov’s warning came after the statement of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, that he and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed to create a joint “regional grouping of troops” to prevent, as Lukashenko said, a potential attack by Ukraine on Belarus.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian army said on Tuesday that it had seen no evidence of troop movements or a build-up of offensive forces in Belarus, but warned that Russia may continue to launch missile strikes on “peaceful areas” and critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

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“The adversary is not able to stop the successful counteroffensive of the Defense Forces in the Kharkiv and Kherson directions, so it is trying to intimidate and sow panic among the population of Ukraine,” the general staff of the military said.

The Washington Institute for the Study of War stated that joint Russian-Belarusian forces are unlikely to attack Ukraine from the north.

Analysts of the analytical center said that the Russian component of such forces “most likely will consist of unskilled mobilized people or conscripts who, most likely, will not represent a significant conventional military threat to Ukraine.”

One of the options for the application of the joint forces may be to keep part of the Ukrainian troops stuck around Kiev to protect the capital, preventing them from being deployed on more active fronts where they can conduct a counteroffensive, the institute notes.

Although Ukrainian officials said Monday’s Russian missile strikes made no “practical military sense”, Putin said the “precision weapons” attack was in retaliation for what he said were “terrorist” actions by Kiev – link to Ukraine’s attempts to repel Moscow’s incursion, including an attack on Saturday on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula. Putin said that the attack on the bridge was organized by Ukrainian special services.

Putin promised a “tough” and “proportionate” response if further attacks by Ukraine threaten Russia’s security. “Nobody should have any doubts about this,” he said in a video at the Security Council of Russia.

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Putin’s increasingly frequent description of Ukraine’s actions as terrorist may portend even bolder and draconian actions. But in his speech on Monday, Putin, whose order to partially mobilize troops last month sent hundreds of thousands of men of fighting age fleeing, did not translate his “special military operation” into an anti-terror campaign or martial law.

This did not prevent the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday from comparing the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with the deceased leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden. He also stated that Western politicians who support Ukraine “actually sponsor terrorism” and that “there can be no talks with terrorists.”

Zelensky has repeatedly called on world leaders to declare Russia a terrorist state because of its attacks on civilians and alleged war crimes.

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