Villages and towns in Ukraine see heavy fighting and shelling

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Villages and towns in Ukraine have experienced more heavy fighting and shelling as Ukrainian and Russian forces strained to advance on different fronts after more than eight and a half months of war.

At least nine civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded in 24 hours, the Ukrainian President’s office said, as it accused Russia of using explosive drones, rockets, heavy artillery and aircraft to attack eight regions in the country’s south-east.

Ukrainian and Russian forces also clashed overnight over Snihurivka, a town about 30 miles north of the southern city of Kherson.

Ukraine’s army hopes to reclaim the Russian-occupied city, the only regional capital captured during Moscow’s February 24 invasion and a key target of an ongoing counter-offensive.

Ukrainian president
Volodymyr Zelensky speaks via video at the Cop27 UN Climate Summit (AP)

The Kherson region is one of four provinces of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed and subsequently placed under Russian martial law.

The Russian military has concentrated much of its firepower on securing control of the others – Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that the return of all occupied territory was a condition for any peace talks with Russia.

The Kremlin is unlikely to give up its internationally unrecognised claim to the regions annexed in September or to Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

The President’s office said widespread Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy system continued. It claimed two cities not far from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant were shelled overnight.

More than 20 residential buildings, an industrial plant, a gas pipeline and a power line were reportedly damaged in Nikopol, which lies across the Dnieper River from the the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Further west, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Ukrainian governor reported “massive” overnight strikes with exploding Iranian-made drones that wounded four energy company workers in the city of Dnipro.

“Attacks on civilian infrastructure are war crimes in themselves. The Kremlin is at war with Ukrainian civilians, trying to leave millions of people without water and light (for them) to freeze in the winter,” governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Ukrainian TV.

Russia Ukraine War
A woman reacts after the recent Russian shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine (AP)

News of the trip by Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the powerful Russian Security Council chaired by Mr Putin, came days after Tehran admitted that it had supplied Moscow with the explosive-laden drones, after weeks of official denials.

A Washington-based think tank linked Mr Patrushev’s visit to likely discussions over the possible sale of Iranian surface-to-surface ballistic missiles to Russia.

The Institute for the Study of War said the Kremlin was “continuing efforts to covertly acquire munitions for use in Ukraine, to mitigate the effects of international sanctions and backfill Russia’s ongoing depletion of domestic munitions stockpiles”.

The increasingly close military and political cooperation between Moscow and Tehran at the time of the war in Ukraine has worried the United States and other Western powers.

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