The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province said Wednesday Russian shelling had killed five civilians and wounded 21 others during the previous 24 hours.
Pavlo Kyrylenko posted on Telegram that the deaths occurred in Avdiivka, Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove.
"Every crime will be punished," Kyrylenko said.
Russia launched what Sloviansk Mayor Vadim Lyakh called "massive shelling" on the city Tuesday.
In an interview on Ukrainian television, Lyakh first urged residents to flee. Hours later, he reversed course and advised them to take cover in shelters. Prior to Russia’s invasion more than four months ago, the city had a prewar population of about 107,000.
Russian forces took control of neighboring Luhansk province this week and have pushed attacks on Sloviansk and Bakhmut as they advance in Donetsk, half of which Russia already controls.
Ukraine said that south of the city, Russian forces were trying to push toward two more towns and shelling areas near Kramatorsk.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday the war in Ukraine would continue until all the goals Putin set are achieved. However, Shoigu said currently "the main priorities" for Moscow were "preserving the lives and health" of its troops, as well as "excluding the threat to the security of civilians."
Earlier in the war, Russia failed to topple the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or capture the capital, Kyiv, but since then has focused on taking over the eastern industrialized Donbas region, which includes Luhansk and Donetsk.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.