The Russian bombing killed at least eight civilians in the east of the countryUkrainian officials said Wednesday that the past 24 hours and 25 wounded. The pro-Russian separatists said the attacks by Ukrainian forces had killed four civilians.
Ukraine’s presidential office said Russian forces targeted towns and villages in the southeast of the country, with most civilian casualties in Donetsk province, where Russia has intensified its offensive in recent days.
Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said in a post on Telegram that two people died in the city of Avdiivka, which is in the center of the province, and the Donetsk cities of Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove reported one civilian death.
“Every crime will be punished,” he wrote.
Kirilenko urged the province’s remaining 350,000 residents to flee late Tuesday, saying the Donetsk evacuation was necessary to save lives and allow Ukraine’s military to better defend against the Russian advance.
Donetsk is part of Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial region where Ukraine’s most experienced soldiers are concentrated. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday declared full control of another Luhansk province in the region, after Ukrainian forces withdrew from the last city under their country.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Hayday denied Wednesday that the Russians had captured the entire territory. He said heavy fighting continued in villages around Lysichansk, the city from which Ukrainian soldiers withdrew and which Russian forces seized on Sunday.
“The Russians paid a heavy price, but the Luhansk region was not completely controlled by the Russian army,” Hayday said. Some settlements have been overrun by each side several times already.”
He accused Russian forces of scorched-earth tactics of “burning and destroying everything in their path”.
CBS News Senior Correspondent Holly WilliamsRussia continues to bomb civilian areas deep in Ukrainian territory, including the latest missile strike that killed retired teacher Vera Maksimenko.
She was killed at her home in the sleepy town of Serhivka in an air strike on Saturday in what Ukrainian officials say is a Soviet-era missile designed to destroy warships.
I worked for 37 years as a teacher. She told her friend Williams that the children loved her, but that “bad guys came into our country and brutally murdered her.”
“Russia is a terrorist state,” her son, Dmitry, told CBS News. But he does not want revenge. He doesn’t want more violence. “I don’t need to kill,” Williams said. “I want justice.”
Ukrainian officials say they are investigating the strike as a war crime.
Heidi said as many as 15,000 residents remain in Lyschansk and about 8,000 in the nearby city of Severodonetsk, which was captured by Russian fighters and separatists last month.
Pro-Russian separatists fought Ukrainian forces and controlled much of Donbass for eight years. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Putin recognized the independence of the two self-proclaimed breakaway republics in the region.
Separatist authorities in Donetsk said, on Wednesday, that four civilians were killed and 14 wounded in Ukrainian shelling in the past 24 hours. News reports said a bombardment hit an ammunition depot on Tuesday, causing massive explosions.
Since Russian forces failed to make progress in capturing Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, Moscow has focused its offensive on capturing the remaining Ukrainian-controlled areas of Donbass.
To the north of Donetsk, Russian forces also bombarded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, with missile strikes overnight, the governor of the Kharkiv region said Wednesday on Telegram.
Governor Ole Senehubov said three districts of the city had been targeted. One person was killed and three, including a child, were injured, according to the governor.
A missile hit a building where military registration takes place. An adjacent government building remained intact, people just steps away looking at the wreckage in passing.
Near the front line and in a more deserted area of the city, first responders struck the debris of another nighttime attack at the National Educational University in Kharkiv. Pages of dusty textbooks fluttered in the breeze.
The attacks indicated that the city, located near the Russian border, was unlikely to get a reprieve as the war continued into its fifth month.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces had killed up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers, destroyed four armored vehicles in Kharkiv, and hit Ukraine’s air defense radar and a camp housing foreign fighters in southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region.
The ministry’s chief spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said that the high-precision air-launched missiles also destroyed two HIMARS multiple launch missile systems sent by the United States to Ukraine. The Ukrainian military has denied Moscow’s allegations, calling them “nothing more than fake” in a Facebook post.
In other developments:
• European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the 27-nation European Union needs to draw up contingency plans to prepare for the complete cutting off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin war in Ukraine. The European Union has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is trying to find other sources. But von der Leyen said the bloc should be prepared for the sudden turmoil coming from Moscow.
• European Union legislators voted to support a plan by the bloc’s Executive Committee to include natural gas and nuclear energy in its list of sustainable activities. Environmentalists have accused the European Union of “greenwashing”. One of the arguments for rejecting the proposal was that it could boost gas sales to the benefit of Russia. The European Commission said it had a letter from the Ukrainian government supporting its position.
Russian media reported that a court in Russia had ordered the suspension of a pipeline carrying oil from Kazakhstan to Europe for 30 days for what it described as environmental violations. The ruling by a court in the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk cited the results of a recent inspection of the Caspian Sea Pipeline Consortium. Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told EU Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday that Kazakhstan is “ready to use its hydrocarbon potential in order to stabilize the situation on world and European markets.”
• A senior Russian official warned that the United States might face “God’s wrath” if it worked to help establish an international tribunal to investigate Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, denounced the United States for what he described as its efforts to “spread chaos and destruction around the world for a ‘real democracy'”.