Russian Shelling Kills 7 in Ukrainian Region Hit With Ongoing Bombardment
Russian shelling ripped into homes in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine on Sunday morning, officials said, an assault that killed at least seven people in an area that had already borne a heavy toll from relentless Russian bombardment.
A couple and their 23-day-old daughter were among the dead in the village of Shyroka Balka, the head of the Kherson regional military administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, said in a statement. Two other people were killed, including a 12-year-old boy, the authorities said.
Calling it “another tragic day” for the region, Mr. Prokudin said that shelling had also killed two men and injured a woman in the village of Stanislav.
The claims about the attacks in the Kherson region on Sunday could not be independently verified, and Russia’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately comment. But it has been under nonstop shelling since November, when Russian forces retreated from the regional capital, the city of Kherson, across the Dnipro River. From their new positions on the river’s eastern bank, Moscow’s troops have launched regular and deadly attacks on the city they once occupied and the towns around it.
Mr. Prokudin said in a separate statement before the latest attacks that Russian forces had fired 365 shells at the region over the previous 24 hours, injuring three people.
The strikes come as Ukrainian forces continue to wage a counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory in the country’s south. The campaign, which began more than two months ago, has been slow and bloody, but analysts, Ukrainian officials and Russian military bloggers say that Kyiv’s forces are making somewhat bigger advances along two major lines of attack.
Even as Ukrainian soldiers battle in trenches and on the field, the campaign to sever Russian supply lines continues, with Ukraine increasingly targeting places far from the front lines. In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly accused Kyiv of launching attack drones at sites inside Russia, including at the capital.
On Sunday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said it had shot down three Ukrainian drones in border regions — two over the Belgorod region and one over the Kursk region. The claims could not be independently verified.
There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, who typically avoid claiming responsibility for attacks on Russian soil but in recent weeks have indicated that the war’s devastation would not be limited to Ukrainian territory.
One repeated target of Ukrainian strikes far from the front lines has been the Kerch Strait Bridge, a vital Russian link to the occupied Crimean Peninsula that Kyiv has vowed to keep striking until the structure is unusable.
Despised by Ukrainians as a symbol of Russian occupation — President Vladimir V. Putin ordered it built after illegally annexing Crimea in 2014 — the Kerch bridge has been a target since the war began. Ukraine has already hit it twice. Beyond its symbolic value, the 12-mile span is a critical strategic asset, allowing Moscow to move troops and equipment from Russia to its bases in Crimea and then onto the battlefield in southern Ukraine.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that it had downed a Ukrainian missile targeting the bridge and that there was no damage. Video broadcast on the Russian and Ukrainian state news media showed smoke billowing over the span, though the Russian-installed authorities in Crimea said it was just a smoke screen intended to protect the bridge. The claims could not be independently verified, and Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment.
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, condemned the attack and threatened retaliation against Ukraine, saying it “will not remain without a response,” the Russian state news agency Tass reported on Saturday.
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