Russian forces launched 45 drones over Ukraine on Sunday in a relentless assault lasting five and a half hours, according to officials. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continued to reshuffle his war cabinet as the conflict entered its third year.
The Ukrainian Air Force stated that it had successfully downed 40 Iranian-made Shahed drones in nine different regions, including on the outskirts of the capital city, Kyiv.
The barrage, spanning five and a half hours, targeted agricultural facilities and coastal infrastructure, as reported by officials from Ukraine’s southern defense forces via Telegram. They noted that one person was injured, and nearby residential buildings were damaged in a strike in the Mykolaiv region, which sparked a fire.
Serhiy Lysak, the head of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region military administration, stated that another person was injured in his region due to a blaze caused by falling debris from a destroyed drone.
These attacks coincide with Zelenskyy’s ongoing restructuring of military leadership to sustain momentum against the advancing Russian forces.
On Sunday, Kyiv announced the appointment of former deputy defense minister Lt. Gen. Alexander Pavlyuk as the new commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, succeeding Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who was recently appointed as Ukraine’s new military chief, replacing Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
Additionally, new presidential decrees appointed Yurii Sodol as the new commander of Ukraine’s combined forces, Brig. Gen. Ihor Skibiuk the commander of Ukraine’s air assault forces, and Maj. Gen. Ihor Plahuta as the commander of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces.
Incoming commander-in-chief Syrskyi emphasized goals such as improving troop rotation at the front lines and leveraging new technology, particularly as Kyiv’s forces are predominantly on the defensive.
Concerns have emerged regarding the use of Starlink terminals by attacking Russian forces, with Ukraine’s military intelligence service disclosing intercepted conversations between Russian soldiers allegedly utilizing these terminals to aid their attacks.
Although Starlink terminals have been instrumental in providing high-speed communications to Ukraine’s military, reports of Russian troops using them in occupied Ukrainian territories have surfaced recently.
Space X, the company behind Starlink, stated on social media that it does not engage in any business with the Russian government or its military. However, Western tech components have been found among Russia’s arsenal, often acquired through third countries to circumvent sanctions.
In a statement on Telegram, Zelenskyy expressed hope for a “reboot” of Ukraine’s armed forces’ upper echelons with experienced combat commanders, emphasizing the significance of individuals familiar with the military’s needs taking on new responsibilities.