Russian forces are managing to “raise real hell” in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine despite reports of an operational pause, a regional governor has said.
The Ukrainian government has urged residents of Russian-occupied areas in the south to evacuate “by all possible means”, while deadly Russian shelling has been reported in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Luhansk Governor Serhyi Haidai said Russia had launched more than 20 artillery, mortar and rocket strikes in the province overnight and its forces were heading towards the border with neighboring Donetsk.
“We are trying to contain Russian armed formations on the entire front line,” Haidai wrote on Telegram.
“So far, there has been no operational pause announced by the enemy. They are still attacking and bombarding our lands with the same intensity as before.
Last week, Russia captured the last major Ukrainian resistance stronghold in Luhansk, the city of Lysychansk. Analysts predicted that troops in Moscow would take time to rearm and regroup.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has called on residents of Russia’s southern territories to evacuate so that occupation forces cannot use them as human shields in the event of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday evening, Ms Vereshchuk said a civilian evacuation effort was underway for parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. She declined to give details, citing security considerations.
It was unclear how civilians should safely leave Russian-controlled areas as missile strikes and artillery fire continue in surrounding areas, or if they would be allowed to leave or even leave. hear the call of the government.
Meanwhile, the number of war dead continued to rise.
Five people were killed and eight others injured in Russian shelling on Friday on Siversk and Semyhirya in Donetsk province, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Saturday.
In the city of Sloviansk, named as the next likely target of the Russian offensive, rescuers said they had extracted a 40-year-old man from the rubble of a building destroyed by shelling on Saturday morning. Mr Kyrylenko said several people were trapped in the debris.
Russian missiles killed two people and injured three others on Saturday morning in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, according to regional authorities.
“They deliberately targeted residential areas,” said Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.
Kryvyi Rih Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said cluster munitions had been used and urged residents to stay away from unfamiliar objects on the streets.
Seven people were injured in a Russian rocket strike on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, on Saturday morning and three of them were taken to hospital, including a child, regional governor Oleh said. Syniehubov.
In Mykolayiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said six Russian missiles were fired at the southern Ukrainian town near the Black Sea but caused no casualties.
The British Ministry of Defense reported on Saturday that Russian forces in Ukraine are now armed with “obsolete or inappropriate equipment”, including MT-LB armored vehicles taken out of long-term storage.
The MT-LB entered service with the Soviet Army in the 1950s and does not offer the same protection as modern armored vehicles.
“While MT-LBS were previously in service in support roles on both sides, Russia has long considered them unsuitable for most frontline infantry transport roles,” the Defense Ministry said. on Twitter.
The Russians also brought out tanks from the Cold War era.