At least 10 people killed in latest Russian shelling, Ukrainian officials say

Men are seen through a smashed window of a damaged truck following a rocket attack in Kyiv. Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Cole

Russian shelling has killed at least 10 Ukrainian civilians and injured 20 other people in a day, the office of Ukraine’s president said on Friday, as heavy fighting rages on across the country.

The casualties included the deaths of at least two civilians in the southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recaptured in November, and two more in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko of the eastern Donetsk region said the Russian military has used phosphorus munitions in shelling the village of Zvanivka, located about 20 kilometres north of Bakhmut, a city at the epicentre of a gruelling battle over recent months.

The shelling also damaged apartment buildings and two schools in the nearby town of Vuhledar, Mr Kyrylenko said.

The governor of the neighbouring Luhansk region, Serhii Haidai, said Ukrainian shelling hit two Russian bases in the occupied towns of Kreminna and Rubizhne, killing and injuring “dozens” of Russian soldiers. His claim couldn’t be independently verified.

Halina Panasian, 69, reacts inside her destroyed house after a Russian rocket attack in Hlevakha, Kyiv region. Credit: AP Photo/Roman Hrytsyna

Russia launched a wave of missiles at Ukraine on Thursday, shortly after Germany and the US promised to send high-tech battle tanks to Ukraine and green-lighting other allies to do the same.

The barrage of missiles and self-exploding drone attacks at the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv killed at least 11 people, injuring 11 more.

In its latest intelligence update, the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) say that Russian online commentators have recently been claiming that Russian troops have made two significant military advances through Ukrainian defences.

"Russian units have probably conducted local, probing attacks near Orikiv and Vuhledar, but it is highly unlikely that Russia has actually achieved any substantive advances," the MoD tweeted.

"There is a realistic possibility that Russian military sources are deliberately spreading misinformation in an effort to imply that the Russian operation is sustaining momentum."

The assessment came after ITV News was told that Russia is drawing up proposals to build its first production plant for suicide drones as part of a plan for a fresh offensive in Ukraine. A site has been identified for a factory where Iranian specialists will help the Russian military to construct "unmanned aerial vehicles", designed to paralyse Ukraine's energy infrastructure and overwhelm its air defence systems during the spring, when newly-trained troops are expected to launch a new push.

Construction work could begin at the factory "within weeks" said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Until now, Russia has relied on shipments of UAVs sent directly from Iran then deployed to the battlefield in Ukraine.

The US/German tank announcement marked the first stage of a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of heavy weapons, which Ukrainian military commanders said would reduce casualties and help restore dwindling ammunition supplies. US President Joe Biden said his country will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, reversing months of persistent arguments by Washington that they were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain. The American decision followed Germany’s agreement to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. Tanks being supplied by the UK to Ukraine are expected to arrive in the country by the end of March.

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