Artillery vehicle

Russian artillery barrage kills more civilians across Ukraine, local leaders say

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A Russian soldier walks past a destroyed building in Severodonetsk, Ukraine on Tuesday. Russian forces have attempted to step up shelling in eastern Ukraine to build on the momentum of the recent capture of several key areas in Donbass, such as Severodonetsk. Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE

July 13 (UPI) — Increased Russian shelling across Ukraine has killed more civilians, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday as forces loyal to Moscow struck a number of strategic locations, including Donbass.

Ukrainian officials said constant Russian shelling had killed at least several civilians and injured nearly two dozen across the country. Shelling was particularly intense in Bakhmut and Kramatorsk, two towns in the Donetsk region, which forms half of Donbass, early Wednesday.

The aggressive attacks reflect Moscow’s intentions to take full control of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, an area that has been popular with pro-Russian separatists and is the top priority in the second phase of the Russian war. , which began in late February.

Russian forces have made significant gains in Donbass in recent weeks, and Ukrainian resistance fighters have also scored some successes. It took the Russian military longer weeks, for example, to capture Severodonetsk than originally planned. Severodonetsk is located in the Luhansk region, which is the second half of Donbass.

“[Russia] carried out cannon artillery and mortar fire in the settlement areas of Tetianivka, Mykolaivka, Kryva Luka, Siversk, Serebrianka and Spirne,” the Ukrainian General Staff said according to CNN.

For weeks, Ukrainian officials have condemned Moscow and said Russian forces intentionally targeted civilians, including children.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it had killed more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers in the past 24 hours and shot down three of Ukraine’s fighter jets and nine of its unmanned drones.

The UK Ministry of Defense said the urban areas of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk appear to be the main targets of Russia’s current operational plans.

“Russia continues to seek to undermine the legitimacy of the Ukrainian state and consolidate its own governance and administrative control over occupied parts of Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Anti-Russian sentiment in occupied Ukraine leads to targeting Russian and pro-Russian officials. The Russian-appointed administration in Velykyy Burluk has admitted that one of its mayors was killed [Monday] by a car bomb attack.

Ukrainian officials in Chasiv Yar, where a Russian strike leveled a building this week, said the death toll stood at at least 45. They added that a total of nine survivors had been found so far .

Meanwhile, several people were injured in Kharkiv during Russian shelling on Tuesday, Ukrainian officials said. They added that Moscow was targeting four “businesses” and private households.

A day after Ukrainian forces blew up a Russian ammunition depot near Kherson, Kyiv presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the storage facility was destroyed with advanced rocket launchers supplied by the United States. United.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators were due to meet United Nations officials in Turkey on Wednesday in a bid to resume grain shipments from Ukraine. Since fighting began several months ago, the Russian military has seized and halted shipments of grain, a very important crop in Ukraine, which has helped create a global food crisis.