Ukraine war: Shelling kills six in eastern town

Rescuers dug in the rubble in search of victimsImage source, DSNS.GOV.UA

Image caption,

Rescuers dug in the rubble in search of victims

Six people have been killed in Russian shelling of the town of Toretsk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, say Ukrainian emergency services.

Rescuers found five bodies in the rubble of a house, while another person died in hospital, they add.

Heavy fighting continues in the east, with Russia slowly advancing.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered generals to focus on destroying Ukraine’s long-range missile and artillery weapons.

The defence ministry said the weapons were being used to shell residential areas of eastern Ukraine under the control of Russian-backed separatists, and to set fire to wheat fields and grain storage silos.

The ministry also said that a Russian missile strike on Sunday on the Donetsk village of Kostiantynivka had killed up to 250 mercenaries fighting on the Ukrainian side, as well as destroying 19 military vehicles.

The claims could not be independently verified.

In recent weeks, the US has supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles, including precision-guided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars), which Kyiv says are beginning to make a difference on the battlefield.

Himars is far more accurate than Russia’s equivalent systems and has been credited with a string of recent attacks deep into Russian-held territory.

In other fighting, Ukraine’s southern command says two Russian missiles have hit a military target outside the southern port of Odesa, while another has struck a bridge across the Dniester estuary.

A fourth was shot down over the Black Sea. Officials say there are no casualties and the fire at the military facility is under control.

They say the bridge has been out of action since Russian forces began targeting it in April.

Meanwhile, British military intelligence has said Russia is using mercenaries from the Wagner group to reinforce front lines in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London said Wagner had been active in recent fighting in the Luhansk region, which had inflicted heavy casualties on the Russian paramilitary organisation.

This was leading to a lowering of recruitment standards, including the hiring of convicts, who were being given little training, the MoD intelligence update said.

War in Ukraine: More coverage

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Watch: The last specialist maternity ward in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine

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