Even as President Volodymyr Zelensky returned to Kyiv energized by his warm welcome to the United States, the bloodshed continued on the ground, reminiscent of the heavy toll of a war that has no end in sight.
At least five civilians were killed and 18 injured in Russian attacks on Thursday and Friday morning, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s offices, said Friday in a message on the Telegram messaging app. The attacks took place in four regions of southern and eastern Ukraine that Russia has illegally annexed but does not fully control.
Russian forces shelled the southern Kherson region 61 times in the past 24 hours with rocket, artillery and mortar attacks, hitting schools and residential buildings, said Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the military administration of Kherson province, on Telegram in a morning message. A later report said shelling near downtown Kherson killed two people, although the timing is unclear.
Last month, Russian troops withdrew from the town and have since fired hundreds of shells from their new positions.
Russian shelling hit a district hospital in the city of Volchansk, Kharkiv region overnight, injuring five people, according to a Telegram message from local governor Oleh Syniehubov. It was unclear whether Russia was specifically targeting the hospital.
In the southeast, saboteurs struck in the Russian-held city of Melitopol, where two people were injured in a car bomb attack, a Russian-backed official told Russian news agency Tass. The city’s exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, said on Telegram that one of those injured was a local policeman who worked with the Russians.
Ukraine has intensified its efforts to isolate and degrade Russian forces in Melitopol, which sits at the crossroads of two major highways and a crucial rail line linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula and other territories it to keep busy.
Earlier this month, the Kremlin-appointed deputy head of Melitopol survived an assassination attempt, part of a series of attacks on Moscow’s hand-picked administrators in occupied Ukraine.