1 of 5 | Rescuers and residents search for survivors in the rubble next to a damaged residential building in Uman, south of Kyiv on Friday, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight. The biggest Russian air raids in months on several cities have killed at least 18 people, including three children, the Ukrainian emergency service said. Photo courtesy of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine | License Photo
April 30 (UPI) -- Intense Russian shelling took place overnight in Kherson and Kharkiv, Ukraine, pounding residential areas and killing a 58-year-old civilian.
Several homes were left smoldering after being struck with anti-aircraft missiles in the city of Kupyansk, The Guardian reports. Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said officials received no reports of casualties from that round of bombing. The same could not be said about Kherson.
There, a 58-year-old woman was killed in an attack on another residential building, Oleksandr Prokudin, the governor of Kherson, said. Another person was seriously injured.
Four more people were killed overnight in a Ukrainian attack on the Russian village Suzemka along its southwestern border. Rescuers pulled two civilians from the rubble of a residential building on Sunday, Bryansk Gov. Alexander Bogomaz said, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
The death toll for civilians in the war may be difficult to count, but Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine's prosecutor general, said 477 children have been killed as a result of the war, including two who were found dead after a rocket attack on the central Ukrainian city Uman. Many of the fatalities happened in Donetsk and Kherson. Nearly 1,000 children have been injured.
The battle over the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine intensified this weekend, with Russia heightening its focus on retaking the city in the coming weeks. CNN reported that close-contact fights between Ukrainian and Russian soldiers in the city have happened more frequently.
"The Russian military is trying to take the city by May 9. They are currently failing," Mykyta Shandyba, Ukrainian military press officer, said in a television interview according to CNN. "They are using artillery, mortars and tank shelling to destroy the city. Often, battles with them are close-contact battles. Destroying the enemy with small arms and grenades, not artillery."
Russia could soon find the battle for Bakhmut even more challenging. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's private military organization Wagner Group, said he may pull soldiers from the city unless they receive more munitions.
In an interview with a pro-Russian blogger, Prigozhin called on Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to deliver ammunition "immediately."
"I am appealing to Sergei Shoigu with a request to issue ammunition immediately," he said. "Now if this is refused ... I deem it necessary to inform the commander-in-chief about the existing problems, and to make a decision regarding the feasibility of continuing to station units in the settlement of Bakhmut, given the current shortage of ammunition."
Prigozhin went on to say that his soldiers in Bakhmut have enough ammunition to last a few more days.
As Russia attempts to complete its goal of gaining control in Ukraine, the influx of newly enlisted soldiers joining the fray in the fall has presented a new set of challenges. According to the British Ministry of Defense, Russia's military has grown increasingly aggressive toward soldiers attempting to leave the battlefield.
"Since Autumn 2022, there have been multiple increasingly draconian initiatives to improve discipline in the force, especially since Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov assumed command of operation in January 2023," the ministry tweeted.
These "draconian initiatives" have included placing soldiers in cells that are dug into the ground and covered with metal grills, called "Zindans."