A damaged building is seen in Marhanets, Ukraine, on Wednesday after Russian shelling attacks. Marhanets is located in southeastern Ukraine about 30 miles southwest of Zaporizhzhia, where fighting has sparked new concerns about a nuclear power plant. Photo by Ukraine National Police/EPA-EFE
Aug. 10 (UPI) -- More than a dozen people were killed early Wednesday in Russian mortar attacks on sites in eastern and southern Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to recapture a part of the country seized by Moscow almost a decade ago.
Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian town of Marhanets and killed at least 13 people. They said the attack also damaged a school.
Regional Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said about 20 buildings were damaged by the mortar fire. Marhanets is located in southeastern Ukraine about 30 miles southwest of Zaporizhzhia, where fighting has sparked new concerns about a nuclear power plant.
Ukrainian power officials have expressed concern this week about Russian moves to reorient power from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant -- Europe's largest -- to power Crimea.
Russia captured the plant in the early stages of the war and has recently fired shells around the facility in a bid to keep Ukrainian forces from retaking it.
Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said the plant is operating with just one production line after Russia damaged three others, leaving it in a precarious position.
A Ukrainian tank is seen during military exercises in the Chernigov area of Ukraine on March 14, 2014, shortly before Russia annexed Crimea in a move that was condemned by most of the international community. File Photo by Sergey Starostenko/UPI
Meanwhile Wednesday, a 13-year-old girl was among three people who were hurt in a predawn attack in the southern city of Mykolaiv. Regional Gov. Vitaliy Kim said that numerous residential buildings were damaged.
Moscow said in its daily military briefing on Wednesday that it also shot down three Ukrainian airplanes overnight and destroyed an anti-aircraft system supplied by Germany.
Also, a series of explosions were reported at a Russian military base near Novofedorivka in western Crimea, near a vacation resort by the Black Sea. One person was killed and more than a dozen were injured, and surrounding towns lost power.
Ukrainian counterattacks were also reported in Kherson and Melitopol in southern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces shelled targets in Crimea for the first time since the fighting began Feb. 24.
Zelensky said on Wednesday that capturing the Zaporizhzhia plant to provide power to Crimea has always been part of Russia's plan. He also said that Ukraine is committed to retaking the Crimean Peninsula, which was forcibly annexed by Russia in 2014.
"Crimea is Ukrainian and we will never give it up," he said according to BBC News.
"We will not forget that the Russian war against Ukraine began with the occupation of Crimea," he added. "And [the war] must end with Crimea -- with its liberation."