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Ukrainian officials said there had been sustained Russian shelling in the eastern region of Donetsk on July 13 as Russian forces continued efforts to capture Donbass.

In the adjacent Luhansk region, Ukrainian soldiers fought to retain control of two villages as they came under Russian shelling, said Serhiy Hayday, the governor of Luhansk.

The Russians are “deliberately reducing the Donbass to ashes, and there will be no one left on the captured territories,” Hayday said.

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Russian state news agency TASS quoted an official of the Russian-backed separatists, Vitaly Kiselyov, as saying that Russian and proxy forces had entered the town of Soledar in Donetsk and could take it within days.

It has not been possible to independently verify the claims of either party.

The town of Bakhmut has faced heavy shelling as the Russian offensive is now concentrated, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration.

Kyrylenko said Russian shelling also hit a granite factory in Sloviansk. There were no injuries, but the destruction was extensive, he said on Telegram, where he posted videos of the bombed factory.

Russia also struck 28 settlements in the Mykolaiv region bordering the Black Sea, killing at least five civilians, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.

Russian missiles also hit the city of Zaporizhzhya, injuring 14 people at a factory. Law enforcement has opened an investigation to determine whether the attack violated the laws of war.

In Kharkiv, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov accused Russian forces of trying to “terrorize civilians” in the capital, Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city.

Russia, which says it does not target civilians, said it shot down four Ukrainian military jets, a claim Ukraine’s air force has dismissed as propaganda.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence, in its daily intelligence briefing early July 13, said Kremlin troops were closing in on the towns of Siversky and Dolyna, with the urban areas of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk being “primary targets of this phase of operation”.

British intelligence also said anti-Russian sentiment in occupied parts of Ukraine had led to the targeting of Russian and pro-Russian officials, noting that the Russian-appointed administration in Velykiy Burluk had acknowledged that one of its mayors had been killed on July 11 in a car bomb attack. .

The Donetsk region state emergency service said the number of confirmed people killed in a rocket attack over the weekend on an apartment building in the town of Chasiv Yar in the region of Donetsk increased to 48.

Crews have been digging through the rubble since the rocket hit July 9 and caused the five-story building to collapse. Moscow says it is not targeting civilians despite evidence to the contrary.

As battles raged in the east and south, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ruled out ceding any territory to Russia if peace talks were to resume and he made it clear that no this guy didn’t take place.

“Ukraine’s goal in this war… is to liberate our territories, restore our territorial integrity and full sovereignty in eastern and southern Ukraine,” Kuleba said during a briefing. a briefing on July 13.

“That’s the end point of our negotiating position.”

Russia has taken control of large swaths of Ukrainian territory in the south along the Black Sea coast and in the eastern provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk that make up the Donbass region.

In 2014, Russia also illegally captured and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and has backed separatists occupying parts of Lugansk and Donetsk provinces ever since.

In Luhansk province, Andrei Marochko, an official with the Russian-backed separatist group calling itself the Luhansk People’s Republic, said the Ukrainian military used High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) supplied by the United States to strike several colonies in the region.

It comes a day after Ukrainian forces struck what they said was an ammunition dump in the southern town of Nova Kakhovka, some 55 kilometers east of the key Black Sea port city of Kherson. Russian officials said civilian sites were hit in the attack.

The claims could not be independently verified.

The Ukrainian government did not specify whether the newly acquired HIMARS were used in an attack.

The strike on Nova Kakhovka followed statements by the Ukrainian military that it was preparing a massive counterattack in the south to retake the territory while Russian forces were busy with actions in the eastern regions.

With reporting from Reuters, AP and AFP