Latest Russian bombardment kills at least 10 in Kherson, Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian shelling has killed at least 10 Ukrainian civilians and injured 20 others in one day, the Ukrainian president’s office reported Friday as the country struggles to recover from a previous wave. missile strikes and Russian drone attacks.
Among the new casualties are the deaths of at least two civilians in the southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recaptured in November, and two others in Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine. Missiles and self-propelled drones fired by Russian forces on Thursday struck deeper into Ukrainian territory, killing at least 11 people.
The bombardment followed the announcement by the United States and Germany of plans to ship powerful tanks to help Ukraine defend itself. Other Western countries said they would also share modern tanks from their stockpiles.
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Moscow bristled at the decision and accused Western nations of entering a new level of confrontation with Russia.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko of the eastern region of Donetsk said the Russian army used phosphorus munitions to shell the village of Zvanivka. The village is located about 20 kilometers north of Bakhmut, a town that has become the center of a grueling battle in recent months. The shelling also damaged apartment buildings and two schools in the nearby town of Vuhledar, Kyrylenko said.
Governor of nearby Luhansk region Serhii Haidai said Ukrainian shelling hit two Russian bases in the occupied cities of Kreminna and Rubizhne, killing and wounding “dozens” of Russian soldiers. His claim could not be independently verified.
Further south, Russian troops resumed the bombardment of the town of Nikopol, across the Dnieper from Russia’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, damaging apartment buildings, gas pipelines, power lines and a bakery, officials said.
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Separately on Friday, Russian authorities took further steps in their months-long and widely criticized effort to graft four Ukrainian provinces onto Russia’s already vast territory. They said that the illegally annexed provinces would move from the time zone that covers Kyiv to that of Moscow.
The southern and eastern Ukrainian regions that Russia declared part of its territory four months ago – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – will take place “in the near future”, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The move is part of what the ministry called the “gradual synchronization” of Russian legislation after “the admission of the four subjects”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s highly orchestrated announcement of the illegal annexations came despite widespread international condemnation and the fact that Russia did not fully control the areas it was annexing. Russia claims to control almost all of Luhansk and about half of Donetsk.
Less than a month and a half after the annexations, Russia lost control of the city of Kherson and large swaths of the surrounding territory under the weight of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. Kherson was the only regional capital seized by Russia since its invasion began on Feb. 24, and its loss dealt a heavy blow to the Kremlin.