Ukraine: Heavy Russian shelling leaves 5 civilians dead, 18 injured

KYIV, Ukraine – The office of the President of Ukraine said on Wednesday that Moscow was trying to expand and consolidate its interests in eastern Ukraine.

Most of the deaths have occurred in Donetsk province, part of an area that pro-Russian separatists have been fighting for eight years and which the Kremlin is intent on capturing. The city of Bakhmut has faced particularly heavy shelling as it is the current focus of the Russian offensive, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk administration.

Governor Serhiy Haidai said that in the adjoining Luhansk province, which separatist and Russian forces have captured, Ukrainian soldiers had been fighting for control of two remote villages amid artillery fire, Governor Serhiy Haidai said. Serhiy Haidai said.

Luhansk and Donetsk together make up Ukraine’s Donbas region, a predominantly Russian-speaking region with steel mills, mines and other industries important to the economy. The Russians are “deliberately turning Donbas to ashes, and there will be no people left in the occupied territories,” Haidai said.

Russian artillery also pounded northeastern Ukraine, where a regional governor, Oleg Syniehubov, accused Russian forces of trying to “terrorize civilians” in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

With Russia’s sights to the east, the Ukrainian army attempted to retake the occupied city to the south. The Ukrainian military on Tuesday claimed to have used missiles to destroy a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka, an occupied city east of the Black Sea port of Kherson.

The accuracy of the attack on the depot suggests that Ukrainian forces used the US-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Missile System, or HIMARS, a weapon repeatedly used by the Kyiv government. protest.

Russia’s Tass news agency said the reported explosion occurred when a depot containing mineral fertilizers exploded. Some ingredients in fertilizers can be used as ammunition.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian officials are expected to meet in person on Wednesday for the first time in months. The military delegations of the two countries and Turkey plan to hold talks in Istanbul on a potential deal to get grain out of blocked Ukrainian ports and mining.

Representatives of the United Nations also participated in the negotiations. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but Russia’s invasion has halted shipments, jeopardizing food supplies in many developing countries. development and contribute to the increase in global prices.

In other developments:

The leader of a Moscow-backed separatist government in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, says foreign fighters convicted of terrorism and trying to overturn the constitutional order to work with Ukraine’s military have resisted. their death sentence. If the appeals court in the separatists’ self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic rejects the appeal, the two British men and a Moroccan could face a firing squad. Rebel leader Denis Pushilin said about 100 members of the Ukrainian National Guard battalion captured after the fall of Mariupol were scheduled to appear in court soon.

– The United Nations refugee agency reports that most Ukrainian refugees want to return to their home countries but plan to wait until the war subsides. Nearly two-thirds plan to stay in their home country right now. The majority of refugees from Ukraine are women and children. The UN agency’s findings come in a survey based on 4,900 interviews with refugees in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Just under a tenth of Ukrainian refugees surveyed said they plan to move to another host country within the next month.

– Ukraine’s emergency services say the death toll from a weekend Russian air strike in the Donestsk town of Chasiv Yar has risen to 47. Rescue teams continued to search for survivors Wednesday in the wreckage of three apartment buildings hit by rockets on Saturday. The buildings in the residential area of ​​the town are mainly inhabited by people who work in the nearby factories.


Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed.


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