Russia-Ukraine war: Intense shelling hits Kharkiv, Mykolaiv

People walk by the outside of a destroyed apartment building from Russian shelling in Kharkiv on May 18. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

May 28 (UPI) — Russian shelling Saturday targeted the city of Kharkiv near the conflict zone in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, local officials said.

The attacks have included several shells that hit the suburb of Mala Danylivka over the past day, the regional military governor, Oleh Synehubov, said in a statement posted to Telegram.

There were no casualties in the Mala Danylivka suburb, according to Synehubov.

Still, he added that in the village of Slatyne, the Russian fire killed a 65-year-old woman.

While Ukrainian troops have pushed back Russian forces from Kharkiv in recent weeks, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city. It has remained in the range of some Russian weapons.

“Fighting continues in the region,” Synehubov said in the statement. “In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy is trying to hold its ground and prevent further advance of Ukrainian troops.”

On Saturday, Russian shelling also hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, the head of its regional council said in a statement to CNN.

“Mykolayiv city was shelled again this morning,” the statement said. “The Russians hit the yard of a residential area, 20 meters away from a kindergarten. There are injured people due to the shelling.”

Mykolaiv is about 37 miles away from Kherson, which has been under control since the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

Kherson has closed its borders to surrounding Ukrainian areas, but not Russian-controlled areas, according to Russian state media. Russian-installed deputy head Kirill Stremousov said Kherson’s border is closed to the Ukrainian regions of Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk. But it remains open for travel to Crimea or the Russian controlled area of Zaporizhzhia

Meanwhile, fighting continues in the eastern Donbas region.

The Luhansk region, along with Donetsk collectively known as the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, has been partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

The city of Severodonetsk, an industrial center in Ukraine’s embattled Luhansk region is a key city that Kyiv still controls in the region, according to CNN.

Severodonetsk is under intense Russian shelling, but “not cut off,” a Ukrainian official said.

Luhansk’s regional military administration head Serhiy Hayday told CNN on Saturday that the key eastern Ukrainian city was “not cut off” despite intense Russian shelling and apparent effort to encircle Ukrainian defenders while making advances from several directions.

Hayday added that Russia has 10,000 soldiers in the Luhansk region, and Russian commanders have committed a range of forces to fight, including fighters from the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and private military companies.

In the Donetsk region, Russian forces said Saturday that they now control the city of Lyman, a key transport hub with bridges over Siversky Donets river, and the British Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update that Russian forces had likely captured the town.

Overall, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the situation in Donbas is “very difficult.”

Still, on Friday, Zelensky said: “If the occupiers thinks that Lyman or Severodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong.”

More than 4,000 civilians have been killed and over 4,700 have been injured since the war began, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights update on Friday. The update notes that actual civilian casualties may be even higher due to delayed reports and many reports still pending corroboration.

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