Missiles and shells fired after Russian troops ordered to ‘further step up’ efforts in Ukraine

Russian forces on Saturday fired missiles and shells at towns and villages across Ukraine after the Russian military announced it was stepping up its attack on its neighbor.

Ukrainian officials reported at least 17 other civilians killed.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave “instructions to further intensify the actions of units in all operational areas, in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime launching massive rocket and artillery strikes on civil infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbass and other regions,” his ministry said on Saturday.

The Russian military campaign has focused on eastern Donbass, but new attacks have also hit northern and southern regions.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has seen particularly heavy shelling in recent days, with Ukrainian officials and local commanders fearing a second large-scale Russian assault on the northern city is looming.

A teacher walks near a school destroyed by a military strike in Chuhuiv, in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, on Saturday. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

At least three civilians were killed and three were injured on Saturday in a pre-dawn Russian rocket strike on the town of Chuhuiv in northern Ukraine, near Kharkiv and just 120 kilometers from the Russian border, said a regional police chief.

Serhiy Bolvinov, deputy chief of the Kharkiv regional police, said the rockets partly destroyed a two-story building.

“Four Russian rockets, presumably fired from the vicinity of (the Russian city of) Belgorod overnight, around 3:30 a.m., hit a residential building, a school and administrative buildings,” Bolvinov wrote on Facebook. He said the bodies of the three dead civilians were found under the rubble.

In the neighboring region of Sumy, one civilian was killed and at least seven others injured after the Russians opened mortar and artillery fire on three towns and villages not far from the Russian border, the regional governor said on Saturday. Dmytro Zhyvytsky on Telegram.

In the besieged eastern region of Donetsk, seven civilians have been killed and 14 injured in the past 24 hours in attacks on towns, its governor said on Saturday.

Later in the day, on the outskirts of Pokrovsk, a town in the Donetsk region, a woman reports that a neighbor was killed by a rocket attack on Saturday afternoon. Tetiana Pashko said she herself suffered a cut on her leg and one of her family’s dogs was killed.

In the nearby Luhansk region, however, Ukrainian troops repelled a nighttime Russian assault on a strategic eastern highway, Governor Serhiy Haidai said, adding that Russia was trying to capture the main road between the towns of Lysychansk and Bakhmut for more than two months. .

“They still can’t control several kilometers of this road,” Haidai wrote in a Telegram post.

WATCH | What happened in week 21 of the Russian attack on Ukraine:

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Russian missiles hit towns in central and southwestern Ukraine far from the front lines of the conflict and Ukraine said Canada’s decision to return turbines used in a pipeline to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany would be seen as a sign of weakness by Moscow. Here is a recap of the war in Ukraine from July 9-15.

Luhansk and Donetsk regions make up Donbass, an eastern industrial region that fueled Ukraine’s economy and was mostly taken over by Russian and separatist forces.

In southern Ukraine, two people were injured by Russian shelling in the town of Bashtanka, northeast of the Black Sea city of Mykolaiv, according to regional governor Vitaliy Kim.

He said Mykolaiv itself came under renewed Russian fire before dawn on Saturday. On Friday, he posted videos of what he called a Russian missile attack on the city’s two largest universities and denounced Russia as “a terrorist state.”

Smoke rises from a fire following a missile strike in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Saturday. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

In Odessa, a Black Sea port city, a Russian missile hit a warehouse, igniting it and releasing a plume of black smoke, but no injuries were reported, local officials said.

Two people were killed and a woman was hospitalized after a Russian rocket strike on the riverside town of Nikopol, emergency services said. Dnipro Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said a five-story building, a school and a vocational school building were damaged.

The Ukrainian Air Force said Russian forces fired six more cruise missiles from strategic bombers into the Caspian Sea on Saturday, and two more hit a farm in the Cherkasy region, along of the Dnieper. No one was injured, but agricultural equipment was destroyed and livestock were killed, regional governor Ihor Taburets said. The Ukrainian Air Force said the other four missiles were intercepted.

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Post expires at 3:56am on Friday July 22nd, 2022