Los Angeles Times

Ukraine reports deadly shelling in north

Russia attacks Kharkiv province as fighting continues in Bakhmut and southern region.


KYIV, Ukraine — Russian shelling destroyed homes and killed one person in northern Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, the region’s governor said Sunday, while fighting raged in the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The town of Kupiansk is about 18 miles from the Russian border; the region has come under frequent attacks although Russian ground forces withdrew from the area nearly six months ago. Gov. Oleh Sinegubov said at least five homes were razed in the latest attack, which left a 65year-old man dead.

A Russian artillery shell hit a car in Burdarky, a Kharkiv province village, killing a man and his wife, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

Two civilians were killed over the last day in Bakhmut, Donetsk province Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said. Russian forces have spent months trying to capture the city as part of their offensive in eastern Ukraine, and the area has seen some of the bloodiest ground fighting.

In recent days, Ukrainian units destroyed two key bridges just outside Bakhmut, including one linking it to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar along the last remaining Ukrainian resupply route, according to U.K. military intelligen­ce officials and other Western analysts.

Associated Press journalist­s near Bakhmut on Saturday saw a pontoon bridge set up by Ukrainian soldiers to help the few remaining residents reach the nearby village of Khromove. Later, the AP team saw at least five houses on fire from attacks in Khromove.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington­based think tank, assessed last week that Kyiv’s actions may point to a looming pullout from parts of the city. It said Ukrainian troops may “conduct a limited and controlled withdrawal from particular­ly difficult sections of eastern Bakhmut,” while seeking to inhibit Russian movement there and limit exit routes to the west.

Capturing Bakhmut would not only give Russian fighters a rare battlefiel­d gain after months of setbacks but also might rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and allow the Kremlin’s forces to press on toward other Ukrainian stronghold­s in Donetsk province.

In southern Ukraine, a woman and two children were killed in a residentia­l building in the Kherson region village of Poniativka, the Ukrainian president’s office reported.

In addition, Ukraine’s emergency services reported Sunday that the death toll from a missile attack that struck a five-story apartment building in southern Ukraine on Thursday rose to 13.

One of the few areas where Russia and Ukraine have cooperated during the war is grain shipments.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday that Ankara is engaged in “intense efforts” to extend an agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports. The deal is set to expire March 18.

In a speech at the opening of the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar, Cavusoglu said he had discussed another extension with U.N. SecretaryG­eneral Antonio Guterres.

The agreement, which allows Russia to export food and fertilizer­s, has helped temper rising global food prices. However, Russia has complained that fertilizer shipments were not being facilitate­d, leaving the deal’s renewal in question.

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