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In Eastern Ukraine, attacks intensify as Russia readies new offensive

July 10, 2022 Updated Sun., July 10, 2022 at 11:07 a.m.

A residential tower hit by a Russian missile in the Serhiivka village of the Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi district, southwest of Odesa, Ukraine, earlier this month.   (LAETITIA VANCON)
A residential tower hit by a Russian missile in the Serhiivka village of the Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi district, southwest of Odesa, Ukraine, earlier this month.  (LAETITIA VANCON)
By Carlotta Gall The New York Times

CHASIV YAR, Ukraine — Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine is intensifying in Donetsk province, with a string of towns and villages coming under bombardment in the last week as Russian troops turn their firepower further west after seizing control of the last city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province.

The attacks have mostly seemed random and without purpose, but taken as a whole they make clear that Russia is preparing to capture another slice of Donetsk, the other province in the Donbas region.

Even as the Russia military command announced an operational pause to allow its main troop force to regroup, its forces have increased bombardment of the five main towns and cities in the area — Bakhmut, Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Druzhkivka and Kostiantynivka — as well as surrounding villages.

Soldiers and emergency crews worked through the night to rescue people from a bombed apartment complex after a Russian strike in the village of Chasiv Yar, a dozen miles from the front line. By midday Sunday, they had pulled five people from the rubble and recovered 15 bodies, but said they feared 10 more lay beneath the crushed concrete, including a 9-year-old boy.

Four rockets slammed into the nearby town of Druzhkivka just after dawn Saturday, shaking the city, smashing windows and damaging a shopping center and other public buildings, but causing no casualties. The neighboring town of Kostiantynivka came under two cluster-bomb attacks Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening around 9 p.m. rockets slammed into two buildings in Chasiv Yar, including the apartment complex.

The fighting in Ukraine was picking up intensity on other fronts as well. In the south, it was Ukrainian forces using artillery to hit Russian troops in the area around the city of Kherson, in what officials suggested would become an effort to retake territory that has been held by Russia since nearly the beginning of the war.

And in northeastern Ukraine on Saturday, Russia sent both military and political signals that its forces might make a new push near Kharkiv, a crucial city that has been bitterly fought over and is still held by Ukraine. Rocket attacks struck there early in the day, including hitting a school.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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