This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he requested long-range missiles from the United States during a phone call on August 7 with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The request came as five people were killed in a Russian missile attack on the city of Pokrovsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region and after Ukrainian officials said that at least three people had been killed in the latest Russian assaults that targeted the Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Kherson regions.
Ukraine has previously requested Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) from the United States and other Western partners. Washington thus far has refrained from providing the weapons for fear Kyiv may use them to target military objects inside Russia.
The ATACMs could strike Russian arms depots and other equipment up to 300 kilometers away, weakening Moscow’s ability to supply its troops at the front lines. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the missiles would be used to reduce Russia’s ability to target cities.
“I thanked the U.S. for all the assistance provided and stressed the need to enhance Ukraine’s long-range capabilities by providing ATACMS,” Kuleba said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
A State Department spokesman issued a statement after the call that made no mention of Ukraine’s request for ATACMS. The statement from spokesman Matthew Miller’s office said Blinken “reiterated the United States’ staunch and ongoing support of Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s aggression and reaffirmed continued support of a strong Ukrainian military and accountable defense institutions.”
It also said Blinken and Kuleba discussed developments in Ukraine’s counteroffensive and the talks held over the weekend in Saudi Arabia about reaching a “durable peace in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the attack on Pokrovsk involved two missiles that hit a residential building. “Unfortunately, there are victims. Rescuers and all necessary services are at the scene. Rescue operations continue,” he said.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk, said one person was killed and seven wounded.
Kyiv earlier described the situation over the past week as “extremely difficult and tense” both in the east and south of the country.
Kherson Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram that a woman was killed and a man sustained head injuries when Russian shelling hit a residential area in the central part of the city. The shelling began around the midnight, officials said.
At least two rescue workers suffered heatstroke as they tried to evacuate residents and put out a fire at a nine-story building that was hit by the latest Russian strikes. (See video below.)
Ukrainian forces recaptured Kherson and parts of Kherson Province in the country’s south in November, several months after they were occupied by Russia.
But Russian troops continue to shell the city and surrounding areas from across the Dnieper River. A doctor was killed and a nurse was wounded in Russian shelling of a Kherson hospital earlier this month.
Two people were reported killed when Russian troops hit the border areas of the northeastern Kharkiv region on August 7, officials said. No further details were immediately available.
Russian forces targeted the Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, using rockets and heavy artillery, regional officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Emergency workers put out a fire that broke out in the aftermath of a missile strike in the Synelnyk district, said Serhiy Lysak, the head of the regional military administration.
Russian assaults continued in the morning, with the Myryvsk area coming under heavy artillery shelling, Lysak added.
New air-raid alerts went off around noon on August 7 in at least nine provinces, including Sumy, Poltava, and Zaporizhzhya, alerting residents to the danger of new Russian strikes.
According to Ukraine’s General Staff, about 50 combat clashes took place across the country over the past day. Kyiv described the situation over the past week as “extremely difficult and tense” both in the east and the south of the country.
“The enemy has chosen the east as its main direction. The offensive there has been going on since January in several directions,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on August 7. She said that “the east was the epicenter of hostilities all last week.”
Malyar also said that Russian forces “want to regain the territories they lost in the Kharkiv region.”
In Russia, officials claimed that a Ukrainian drone was shot down southwest of Moscow overnight, amid a surge in drone attacks targeting the capital.
The drone was shot down by the anti-defense system in the Ferzikovsky district of the Kaluga region, less than 200 kilometers southwest of Moscow, regional Governor Vladislav Shapsha said.
The incident “affected neither people nor infrastructure,” he wrote on Telegram on August 7.
Ukrainian drone attacks have increased in recent weeks, mostly targeting Moscow as well as the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram that 22 prisoners of war were returned to Ukraine from Russian captivity on August 7.
Some 2,600 Ukrainian solders have been released from captivity in prisoner exchanges that have taken place periodically between Russia and Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022.
There was no immediate comment from Russia about the latest prisoner exchange. In most cases, the warring parties hand over about the same number of prisoners as the other side.
In other developments, a conference hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss a peace plan for Ukraine was successful because it showed the willingness of the international community to work toward ending the war, a German government spokesperson said on August 7.
“Germany will also continue to engage actively including in this process,” the spokesperson said in Berlin.