Russia trying to hinder counteroffensive move, Ukraine defense official says

A senior Ukrainian defense ministry official says Russian forces are trying to derail Kyiv's preparations for a counteroffensive with their latest air campaign.

The official of the ministry's main intelligence directorate told media on Friday that Russia has been shifting its targets to military facilities and ammunition depots to hinder Ukraine's plan after failing with its attacks on electricity infrastructure during the winter.

The Russian defense ministry announced on the same day that defense minister Sergei Shoigu had inspected a forward command post in a Russian-controlled area of the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

The ministry said Shoigu instructed the commander to step up reconnaissance activity in order to detect enemy plans and prevent their implementation.
Shoigu's order may be taken as an indication that Russian forces are increasingly vigilant against Ukraine's planned counteroffensive.

The Ukrainian air force said on Friday that the Russian military had fired six cruise missiles and launched 22 drones at targets in Ukraine. It said three of the missiles and 16 drones were intercepted.

Authorities in the eastern city of Kryvyi Rih said on social media that two people were wounded in the attacks. The city is the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia also conducted missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on Thursday, continuing with its offensive campaign that began earlier this month.