Russian Shelling Heavy in East Ukraine 08/13 09:11
Russia's military pounded residential areas across Ukraine overnight,
claiming gains, as Ukrainian forces pressed a counteroffensive to try to take
back an occupied southern region, striking the last working bridge over a river
in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, Ukrainian authorities said Saturday.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russia's military pounded residential areas across
Ukraine overnight, claiming gains, as Ukrainian forces pressed a
counteroffensive to try to take back an occupied southern region, striking the
last working bridge over a river in the Russian-occupied Kherson region,
Ukrainian authorities said Saturday.
A Russian rocket attack on the city of Kramatorsk killed three people and
wounded 13 others Friday night, according to the mayor. Kramatorsk is the
headquarters for Ukrainian forces in the country's war-torn east.
The attack came less than a day after 11 other rockets were fired at the
city, one of the two main Ukrainian-held ones in Donetsk province, the focus of
an ongoing Russian offensive to capture eastern Ukraine's Donbas region.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed Saturday its forces had taken control
of Pisky, a village on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, the provincial
capital that pro-Moscow separatists have claimed since 2014.
Russian troops and the Kremlin-backed rebels are seeking to seize
Ukrainian-held areas north and west of the city of Donetsk to expand the
separatists' self-proclaimed republic. But the Ukrainian military said Saturday
that its forces had prevented an overnight advance toward the smaller cities of
Avdiivka and Bakhmut.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov also claimed that
Russian strikes near Kramatorsk, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Donetsk
city, destroyed a U.S.-supplied multiple rocket launcher and ammunition.
Ukrainian authorities did not acknowledge any military losses but said that
Russian missile strikes Friday on Kramatorsk had destroyed 20 residential
Neither claim could be independently verified.
The Ukrainian governor of neighboring Luhansk province, which is part of the
fight over the Donbas region and was overrun by Russian forces last month,
claimed that Ukrainian troops still held a small area. Writing on Telegram,
Luhansk Gov. Serhii Haidai said the defending troops remained holed up inside
an oil refinery on the edge of Lysychansk, a city that Moscow claimed to have
captured, and also control areas near a village.
"The enemy is burning the ground at the entrances to the Luhansk region
because it cannot overcome (Ukrainian resistance along) these few kilometers,"
Haidai said. "It is difficult to count how many thousands of shells this
territory of the free Luhansk region has withstood over the past month and a
Further west, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region reported more
Russian shelling of the city of Nikopol, which lies across the Dnieper River
from Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
Gov. Yevhen Yevtushenko did not specify whether Russian troops had fired at
Nikopol from the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Writing on
Telegram, he said Saturday that there were no casualties but residential
buildings, a power line and a gas pipeline were damaged.
Nikopol has undergone daily bombardment for most of the past week, and a
volley of shells killed three people and damaged 40 apartment buildings on
Thursday, he said.
Russia and Ukrainian officials have for days accused each other of shelling
the Zaporizhzhia plant in contravention of nuclear safety rules. Russian troops
have occupied the plant since the early days of Moscow's invasion, although the
facility's pre-war Ukrainian nuclear workers continue to run it.
Ukrainian military intelligence alleged Saturday that Russian troops were
shelling the plant from a village just kilometers away, damaging a plant
pumping station and a fire station. The intelligence directorate said the
Russians had bused people into the power plant and mounted a Ukrainian flag on
a self-propelled gun on the outskirts of Enerhodar, the city where the plant is
"Obviously, it will be used for yet another provocation to accuse the armed
forces of Ukraine," the directorate said, without elaborating.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly alleged that Russian forces were
cynically using the plant as a shield while firing at communities across the
river, knowing that Ukrainian forces were unlikely to fire back for fear of
triggering a nuclear accident.
They said Russian shelling on Friday night killed one woman and injured two
other civilians in the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is 122 kilometers (76 miles)
from the plant. Ukraine's southern Mykolayiv region also said a woman died
there in shelling.
For several weeks, Ukraine's military has tried to lay the groundwork for a
counter-offensive to reclaim southern Ukraine's Russian-occupied Kherson
region. A local Ukrainian official reported Saturday that a Ukrainian strike
had damaged the last working bridge over the Dnieper River in the region and
further crippled Russian supply lines.
"The Russians no longer have any capability to fully turn over their
equipment," Serhii Khlan, a deputy to the Kherson Regional Council, wrote on
Facebook. His claims could not be immediately verified.
In the north, five civilians were injured overnight as Russia launched
missiles at the border Kharkiv region, home to Ukraine's second-largest city.
The governor of neighboring Sumy said 200 missiles were fired at his region
from Russian territory in the last 24 hours. Sumy Gov. Dmytro Zhyvytsky
reported a widespread loss of crops as wheat fields caught fire, but he did not
mention any casualties.