Bombing kills civilians in northeastern Ukraine as fears grow of a second Russian takeover of the region

The bombing near the city of Kobyansk came at a time when British officials said that Russia might try to retake the region, which was under Russian control. Kyiv captured it In a lightning counter-attack last September, after more than six months of Russian occupation.

He added that rescue teams are working at the site.

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said at a regular press conference on Saturday that Russian forces had “improved their position along the front line” in the Kobyansk region and repelled five Ukrainian attacks during the previous day.

The Russians appear to be making a concerted effort to breach the front line, as Ukrainian authorities announced a mandatory evacuation that affected about 12,000 civilians in 37 villages and towns around Kobyansk earlier this month .

Ukrainian officials have so far reported limited progress in Kiev’s large-scale counteroffensive in early June, including in the southern region of Zaporizhia and on the outskirts of Pakhmut, the eastern city that became the site of the war’s longest and bloodiest battle before it fell to Moscow. in May.

A Washington-based think tank said late Friday that Ukrainian forces were advancing in Zaporizhia after advancing on the village of Robotyn earlier this week. The Institute for the Study of War in its latest assessment cited pro-Kremlin military bloggers expressing concern about a lack of reinforcements and troop positions in the area, while on the same day the Ukrainian General Staff claimed more unspecified successes south and southeast of Ropotyn.

Russian state media reported that a new drone attack on Moscow, also on Saturday, led to a temporary early morning shutdown of all three major airports serving the city. Officials blamed Ukraine for what appeared to be the latest near daily attacks on the Russian capital and the surrounding area.

Kiev has been seeking since early this year to bring the 18-month-old war into the heart of Russia, and also recently said it was behind strikes on Russian military assets behind the front lines.

Sobyanin said in a post on Telegram that there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

On Saturday, Russian “Telegram” channels published video clips, some of which appeared to be from home security cameras, of what they claimed was a Russian air defense that shot down the drone. One video shows a car parked outside what appears to be a suburban home, its alarm starting to go off seconds after two powerful explosions are heard in the distance.

The Russian Defense Ministry on the same day blamed Ukraine for the attack. As of Saturday morning, the Ukrainian authorities had not announced whether Kiev was involved in the accident.

Russia and Ukraine Several drone attacks circulated Earlier this week, with Kiev apparently targeting Moscow, Kremlin forces launched another bombing of Ukrainian grain storage depots, in what has recently become a signature tactic.

Ukrainian media too claimed That Ukrainian saboteurs, coordinated by military intelligence services in Kiev, carried out two drone attacks recently, destroying and damaging bomber aircraft at air bases deep in Russia.

Later on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that another drone was shot down as it approached the Russian city of Belgorod, about 45 kilometers (27 miles) from the Ukrainian border. No casualties or damage were reported.

The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, accused Ukrainian forces of shelling a border village using cluster munitions, injuring six civilians. Gladkov did not provide visual evidence of the use of the controversial and widely banned weapon, which contains dozens of small bomblets that scatter shrapnel over a wide area.

Kiev last month began receiving cluster bombs from the United States, but has vowed to use them only to flush out groups of enemy soldiers. Ukrainian officials have regularly accused Moscow of firing cluster munitions into residential areas, while Russian regional authorities have reported cross-border Ukrainian attacks in which civilians were injured.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force reported early Saturday that two Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russian forces were shot down overnight over the country’s northeast.

In the Kherson region on Ukraine’s frontline in the south, local governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported that an 83-year-old woman died in hospital after suffering burns when Russian forces bombed the riverside village of Olhivka overnight. Also on Saturday, the Kherson regional administration reported that Russian bombing damaged a hospital in the provincial capital of the same name, smashing out doors and windows but causing no casualties.

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