Russian forces make renewed push to take eastern Ukraine towns
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Kyiv: Russian forces have shelled areas across Ukraine and pushed forward near an embattled eastern city, Ukrainian officials say.
Six people died when the north-eastern city of Kharkiv was shelled, while a man was killed as Russian forces targeted the Ukrainian-held town of Nikopol from their stronghold at Ukraine’s largest nuclear plant, local governor Serhii Lysak said on Saturday.
Lysak said emergency services in Nikopol were working to assess the damage.
The Motherland monument, which has just reopened for public viewing, is seen through fog in Kyiv, Ukraine.Credit: AP
Russian troops took over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant early in the war, sparking intermittent fears of a radiation incident as shelling persisted near the site, often targeting Ukrainian-controlled settlements across the Dnieper River.
In Kryvyi Rih, the central Ukraine home town of President Volodymyr Zelensky, a 60-year-old man died on Friday when a Russian missile slammed into an industrial facility, according to Telegram posts by Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul. The man’s wife was hospitalised with serious shrapnel wounds, Vilkul said.
The mayor said Russian missiles and drones had hit the same place again overnight, causing unspecified damage and sparking a fire that was put out by the morning. Vilkul did not elaborate on the site’s nature or whether it was linked to Ukraine’s war effort. He said nobody was hurt in the second strike.
A group of Ukrainian marines sail from the riverbank of Dnipro at the frontline near Kherson, Ukraine.Credit: AP
Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile attack hit a postal distribution centre in war-devastated Kharkiv, killing six people and injuring at least 14.
“Russian missiles hit the Nova Poshta centre – an ordinary civilian object,” Zelensky said on the Telegram messaging app.
He posted a video showing a building with windows blown out and construction materials strewn about. In front of the building were red trucks with Nova Poshta written in Ukrainian on them.
Oleh Synehubov, the governor of the broader Kharkiv region, of which the city of Kharkiv is the administrative centre, said several of the injured were in serious condition in hospital.
Those killed and injured were employees of the postal centre, Synehubov said on Telegram. Police said the workers did not have time to run to the shelter because the siren had sounded a second before impact.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Russia. Both sides deny targeting civilians in the war that Russia launched against its neighbour in February 2022.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was devastated in the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov later told reporters that Russian forces had destroyed the Ukrainian military’s fuel and ammunition depots near Kryvyi Rih’s local airport.
There was no immediate response from Ukrainian officials to Konashenkov’s claim.
In southern Ukraine’s frontline Kherson region, one civilian was killed and another wounded during “mass shelling” attacks by Russian troops, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Saturday. The Russians used mortars, artillery, tanks, drones and multiple-rocket launchers to target the region, striking some residential areas, Prokudin wrote in a Telegram post.
Russian shelling over the past day also wounded one civilian in the frontline city of Avdiivka, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, acting local Governor Ihor Moroz reported on Saturday. Avdiivka has been fiercely contested by Russian and Ukrainian forces in recent weeks as Kyiv’s forces try to hold off a renewed Russian assault.
Moroz said exploding drones, missiles, mortars and artillery shells fired by Russian troops had also struck other parts of the region.
On Friday, Russian troops launched a fresh offensive north of Avdiivka that has secured minor gains, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War. The Washington-based think tank cited geolocated footage from pro-Kremlin “military bloggers” on the ground to support its assessment.
Moscow’s renewed push near Avdiivka reflects the Russian military command’s commitment to offensive operations in the area “despite heavy materiel and personnel losses”, the institute said.
The Ukrainian General Staff on Friday claimed that Ukrainian forces had damaged and destroyed almost 50 Russian tanks and more than 100 armoured vehicles in the fighting near Avdiivka during the previous day. The claim that could not be independently verified.
Oleksandr Shputun, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army unit fighting near Avdiivka, said in televised remarks on Saturday that Russian military activity in the area had “decreased slightly”, possibly due to heavy losses. However, Shputun acknowledged that Russian units continued to advance.
In the Kharkiv region, a 39-year-old civilian man was hospitalised with wounds as Russian shelling hit two village homes near the embattled town of Kupiansk, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Saturday. Russian forces have for weeks been pressing an offensive to retake territory near Kupiansk and the nearby town of Lyman.
The governor of Russia’s southern Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces shelled two of the province’s districts with mortars and grenade launchers the previous day. According to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, no civilians were hurt.
Elsewhere, a top Ukrainian presidential adviser reported that four Ukrainian children who were released from Russian captivity on Monday had been reunited with their families.
According to the Telegram post by Andriy Yermak, a 17-year-old girl and three boys aged nine, six and three, were captured by occupying Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine. Yermak said one of the boys had been transferred to an orphanage in southern Russia, while another was forcibly taken to Russian-annexed Crimea.
Deportations of Ukrainian children have been a concern since Russia’s invasion. The International Criminal Court increased pressure on Moscow when it issued arrest warrants in March for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of abducting children from Ukraine.
State media in Kremlin-allied Belarus have also published reports on children arriving in the country from Ukraine’s occupied territories, ostensibly to join “health recuperation programs”.
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