Two people have been killed and 29 wounded following the shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, local officials say. The officials attributed the attack in the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region to Russian forces.
Video footage of the aftermath showed damaged residential buildings, debris in the streets and vehicles on fire.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the attack as “terrorism”.
“I was in the kitchen, making soup, and it banged and spilled everything,” said Sloviansk resident Alla Motora. “I don’t know where it came from and who did that. And then the cars – and crying and screaming and everything.”
Attack follows established pattern
Russia has denied targeting residential areas even though artillery and rocket strikes have frequently hit Ukrainian apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure.
But the Sloviansk attack follows a pattern of long-range shelling adopted by the Kremlin’s forces, especially in recent winter months in which fighting has become deadlocked.
In the Donetsk region some 10 cities and villages were shelled by Russian forces over the previous 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office reported on Monday.
Russian missiles had hit the city of Avdiivka, damaging residential buildings, a hotel and a courthouse, it said.
Avdiivka Mayor Vitali Barabash said utility companies are being evacuated from the frontline city, as it “resembles more and more a landscape from post-apocalyptic movies”.
Kherson region under attack
Attacks also intensified in the partially occupied Kherson region. The Ukrainian-controlled part of the province was shelled 20 times by the Russian artillery and aviation, wounding four people, the presidential office said.
Russian forces too have come under fire.
The mayor of the occupied city of Melitopol said several explosions shook the city on Monday, damaging a building where Russian security forces have been quartered.
Mayor Ivan Fyodorov posted photos of smoke billowing over the area where the Russian barracks are located.
The Russian-installed authorities said “artillery shelling” of Melitopol partially destroyed a vocational school building, damaged several other buildings and wounded four people.
British actor Orlando Bloom visits Kyiv
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy met in Kyiv with British actor Orlando Bloom.
Bloom, who is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, arrived in the Ukrainian capital over the weekend and visited its suburb of Irpin.
During his meeting with Zelenskyy, Bloom said “he was struck by the courage and resilience of Ukrainians, who despite the war remain strong”.
His visit is intended to support projects to provide humanitarian assistance and restore infrastructure, with a special focus on the interests of Ukrainian children.
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