Eight civilians killed in Russian shelling of eastern Ukraine

Eight civilians are killed in Russian shelling of eastern Ukraine as Putin pushes deeper into Donetsk region, governor reveals

  • Eight were killed and 11 injured in the Russian strikes in eastern Ukraine today
  • The shelling came as part of a consolidated Russian offensive in Donetsk
  • Both Russia and Ukraine are thought to have sustained heavy losses in the WWI-style conflict which sees bitter ground fighting punctuated by artillery strikes
  • The two sides are fighting over every inch of territory in the Donbas region

Eight civilians were killed in Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Moscow’s forces push deeper into the eastern Donetsk region, the regional governor said.

Russia’s military leaders are pouring troops and equipment into the east of Ukraine in an attempt to force a bloody victory there after they abandoned plans to blitz through Ukraine’s north and seize Kyiv earlier in the war.

The town of Lyman, located a mere 15 miles from the Donetsk region’s northernmost city of Slovyansk and 30 miles from the city of Izyum in the Kharkiv region, was the site of five of the civilian deaths.

‘On May 1, four civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region, all in Lyman. Eleven other people were injured,’ governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram, later adding another person died of his injuries.

Ukrainian media organisation Ukraine Now reported the attacks came as part of a consolidated Russian shelling offensive targeting Ukrainian military positions along the eastern front in Lyman, Severodonetsk, Slovyansk, Popasna and Kurakhiv over the weekend.

Another three people were killed in shelling on residential areas in and around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, the regional governor Oleg Synegubov said on Telegram.

‘As a result of these shellings, unfortunately, three people were killed and eight civilians were injured.’

The Ukrainian army has also withdrawn from Kharkiv, its troops now in outlying positions, according to AFP journalists who recently visited the city.

President Volodymyr Zelensky recently acknowledged that the situation was ‘difficult’ in Donbas, the eastern Ukrainian mining basin that has become the priority target of Russian troops, who invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

A car and piled sleepers are burning after a shelling near the Lyman station in Lyman, eastern Ukraine, earlier this week. Four civilians were killed in fresh shelling of the town today amid Russia’s assault along the eastern front in the Donbas region

A garage burns following a military strike on a garage near the railway station, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine April 28, 2022

A Ukrainian woman sits on a bus after being evacuated from the frontline city of Lyman, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Slovyansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, April 29, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers rest at their position near Lyman, eastern Ukraine, on April 28, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine

Both Russia and Ukraine are thought to have sustained heavy losses in the WWI-style fighting along the eastern front, which sees rounds of bloody ground fighting punctuated by artillery strikes as Putin’s troops attempt to gain territory inch-by-inch.

Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, was today wounded in Izyum, just 30 miles from Lyman in a Ukrainian artillery strike.

An unofficial Russian source reported that Gerasimov sustained ‘a shrapnel wound in the upper third of the right leg without a bone fracture.

‘The shard was removed – there is no danger to life,’ he said.

But Gerasimov’s injury was severe enough to have him flown away from the frontlines and back to Russia to undergo further treatment, marking another embarrassing defeat for Putin’s forces.

The chief of staff’s injury came just one day after Russian Major General Andrei Simonov, 55, was killed in Kharkiv, according to an adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. 

He is Russia’s ninth general to have been killed since the start of the invasion.

Elsewhere in the Donbas region, around 100 civilians were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the decimated city of Mariupol – though up to 1,000 civilians remain trapped in the port’s last remaining Ukrainian holdout.

It comes as a UN ‘safe passage operation’ began yesterday, when officials reached the site in the decimated coastal metropolis.

The city is under almost total Russian control but some Ukrainian fighters and around 1,000 civilians are thought to be holed up in the steel works — a vast Soviet-era plant founded under Josef Stalin and designed with a labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels to withstand attack. 

Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, was wounded in Izyum in Ukraine’s Kharviv region, which has been at the centre of intense fighting since Russia’s invasion

Ukraine’s armed forces continue their bitter defence of the Donetsk and Luhansk territories which have been partially occupied by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014 (Ukrainian soldiers stand on an armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front-line with Russian troops, in Izyum district, Kharkiv region on April 18, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine)

Around 100 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal steel works which is the last remaining Ukrainian holdout in Mariupol currently housing roughly 1,000 civilians. Pictured: Smoke rises above the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol on April 25

A woman sits with two children among bags and a rolled-up blanket, after leaving an area near the Azovstal steel plant

Zelensky said this afternoon that a group of about 100 people were being evacuated from the steelworks and are to be taken to Ukrainian-controlled territory in Zaporizhzhia.

‘Tomorrow we’ll meet them in Zaporizhzhia. Grateful to our team,’ he tweeted. 

‘Now they, together with #UN, are working on the evacuation of other civilians from the plant.’ 

With fighting stretching along a broad front in southern and eastern Ukraine, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged continued American support for Ukraine when she met Zelensky in an unannounced visit to Kyiv yesterday.

Footage posted by Zelensky on Twitter on Sunday showed him, flanked by an armed escort and dressed in military fatigues, greeting a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Pelosi outside his presidential office the previous day.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) made a secret visit to Kyiv on Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right)

‘Our delegation travelled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,’ Pelosi, the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, said in a statement.

Zelensky praised as substantive four hours of talks with Pelosi focused on U.S. weapons deliveries.

‘We are grateful to all our partners who send Russia important and powerful signals of support for Ukraine by visiting our capital at such a difficult time,’ he said.  

Speaking from Poland today following her visit to Kyiv, Pelosi urged Ukraine not to back down in the face of ‘bullies’.

‘Do not be bullied by bullies. If they are making threats, you cannot back down. That’s my view of it,’ she told a news conference in the Polish city of Rzeszow.

‘We are here for the fight and you cannot fold to a bully,’ Pelosi said.

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