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Fighting Rages in Ukraine's Eastern Donbas Region

Fighting rages on in eastern Ukraine
Fighting rages on in eastern Ukraine

Fierce fighting raged in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region Saturday as Russian forces increased their bombardment of the city of Lysychansk.

Russia is targeting the area as its military looks to push deeper in the industrial region, which has become the focus of its latest offensive since failing to capture Kyiv after its February 24 invasion.

Four people were killed, and three others were wounded in shelling in Izium and Chuguiv, two districts of the northeastern Kharkiv region, according to Oleg Synegubov, Kharkiv chief of district.

Russian rockets also struck residential properties in Sloviansk, killing a woman in her garden and wounding her husband, according to a neighbor who spoke with Agence France-Presse.

In Kharkiv, missiles hit some railway infrastructure, but no casualties were reported. The strike damaged railroad tracks and knocked down high voltage power lines.

“After Russian rockets hit at four in the morning, the power grid and three high voltage lines powering traffic lights and substation are damaged,” Pavlo Svistelnikov, manager of the regional power grid, told Reuters.

Russian forces have been pounding the city for over a week, killing civilians and hitting apartment buildings and schools, regional authorities said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of state “terror.” “I emphasize, this is an act of deliberate, purposeful Russian terror and not some kind of mistake or an accidental missile strike," Zelenskyy said.

His comments came after missile strikes on a southern resort town of Sergiyvka, 80 kilometers south of the Black Sea port of Odessa. Russia has denied it targeted civilian locations.

As the fighting continues the United States announced details of $820 million in additional military aid for Ukraine, including new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radar.

The 14th U.S. package of military aid includes two air defense systems, known as NASAMS, which can help Ukrainian forces defend against cruise missiles and aircraft.

The latest aid package is designed to help Ukraine counter Russia's use of long-range missiles and follows calls by Ukrainian officials for Western countries to send more advanced weapons systems that can better match Moscow's equipment.

A senior U.S. official said the systems are NATO-standard defense systems and are part of an effort to update Ukraine's air defenses from a Soviet-era system to a modern one.

The latest military aid package also provides Ukrainians with up to 150,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition as well as additional ammunition for medium-range rocket systems the United States provided Ukraine in June.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.