KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces fired missiles and shells at towns and villages across Ukraine on Saturday after the Russian military announced it was stepping up its attack on its neighbor. Ukraine 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.
Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Ukrainians not to fall for Russia’s attempts to scare them by warning of horrific missile attacks to come, which he said were aimed at dividing society Ukrainian.
“Sometimes information weapons can do more than ordinary weapons,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation.
“It is clear that no Russian missile or artillery will be able to break our unity or lead us away from our path ‘towards a democratic and independent Ukraine,’ he said. can be shattered by lies or bullying, fakes or conspiracy theories.
In the Kharkiv region, at least three civilians were killed and three others injured on Saturday in a pre-dawn Russian strike on the town of Chuhuiv, which is only 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the border Russian, police said.
Serhiy Bolvinov, deputy chief of the Kharkiv region police force, said four missiles presumably fired from the Russian city of Belgorod hit an apartment building, a school and administrative buildings around 3:30 a.m. Writing on Facebook, he said the three bodies were found under the rubble.
Lyudmila Krekshina, who lives in the building that was hit, said a husband and wife were killed, along with an elderly man who lived on the ground floor.
Another resident said she was lucky to have survived.
“I was going to run and hide in the bathroom. I didn’t survive and that’s what saved me,” Valentina Bushuyeva said. Pointing to her destroyed apartment, she said, “Here’s the bathroom—explosion Kitchen—half a room And I survived because I stayed put.
In the neighboring region of Sumy, one civilian was killed and at least seven injured after the Russians opened mortar and artillery fire on three towns and villages not far from the Russian border, regional governor Dmytro said on Saturday. Zhyvytsky.
In the besieged eastern region of Donetsk, seven civilians have been killed and 14 injured in the past 24 hours in Russian 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.
She said her 35-year-old neighbor, who was killed in her front yard, evacuated earlier this year as authorities requested, but returned home after being unable to support herself. Several houses on the quiet residential street were damaged, doors and roofs torn off.
“We can rebuild but we can’t bring her back,” said another neighbour, Olha Rusanova.
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. .
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”.
In Odessa, a key 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. Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said a five-story apartment building, a school and a vocational school building were damaged.
On Friday, cruise missiles fired by Russian bombers struck Dnipro, a major city in southeastern Ukraine on the Dnieper River, killing at least three people and injuring 16, Ukrainian officials said. On Saturday, Russian defense officials said the strike destroyed “workshops producing and repairing components for the Tochka-U ballistic missiles, as well as several rocket launchers”.
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.
This week’s deadliest Russian attack came on Thursday, when a Russian missile strike killed at least 24 people – including three children – and injured more than 200 in Vinnytsia, a town southwest of Kyiv , the capital, far from the front lines. Three of those missing after the attack were found alive in the rubble on Saturday and one person remains missing, the emergency service said.
Russia claimed the Kalibr cruise missiles hit a “military facility” that was hosting a meeting between the Ukrainian Air Force command and foreign arms suppliers. Ukrainian authorities insisted the site, a concert hall, had nothing to do with the military.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Russian forces carried out more than 17,000 strikes against civilian targets during the war, killing thousands of combatants and civilians and driving millions from their homes.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also impacted the global economy, driving up energy and food prices and curbing exports of key Ukrainian and Russian products such as grain, fuel and fertilizers.
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