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Deadly Russian shelling cuts Kherson power

#Deadly #Russian #shelling #cuts #Kherson #power

Russian shelling on Thursday killed two people in Kherson and left the southern city “completely without power”, Ukrainian officials said after the latest strikes on infrastructure as temperatures have plummeted.

Russia’s humiliating retreat from the city prompted joy for war-battered Ukrainians, but Kherson remains within the reach of Moscow’s weaponry and thus under constant threat.

The deadly toll of the invasion has grown steadily since Russia’s attack in February, and the UN rights chief said Moscow’s forces summarily killed hundreds of civilians in just the first weeks. 

Thursday’s strikes on Kherson killed two people, the deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said. 

The city that was the only regional capital held by Moscow was also left “completely without power”, the regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said. 

Since being retaken by Kyiv, Kherson has seen an almost daily barrage of missiles, prompting local authorities to encourage evacuations. 

“Unfortunately, constant shelling prevents (Kherson city) from fully restoring normal life,” Ukraine’s ministry responsible for reintegrating recaptured territory Iryna Vereshchuk was cited as saying by the ministry.

Around 11,000 people have left Kherson since it was recaptured, Vereshchuk said.

– Explosions in Donetsk –

The strikes on infrastructure, leaving millions of Ukrainians without power, heating or water have become a regular strategy from Russia facing a tense situation on the ground.

Having retreated from parts of southern Ukraine, Moscow’s forces were engaged in fierce battles in the east, particularly in the Donetsk region.

In Donetsk, “the epicentre of the fighting remains the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions,” deputy defence minister Ganna Malyar said during a briefing. 

Ukrainian soldiers speaking to AFP in the area acknowledged that “the enemy is hard to beat.”

“Staying on the frontline is very difficult. They sustain heavy losses, but so do we,” military unit chief Petro told AFP.

The Donetsk region has since 2014 been partly controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. 

On Thursday, separatist authorities reported “the most massive shelling since 2014” on the administrative centre of the region, also called Donetsk.

At least one person was killed and nine more injured in the strikes, Russian proxies said.

Along with Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, Donetsk is one of the regions Moscow claims to have annexed in votes denounced as a sham by Ukraine and the West. 

– Summary killings –

Regarding summary killings, UN rights chief Volker Turk said his office had documented the summary executions and direct killings of 441 civilians across just three regions of Ukraine from the time Russia’s full-scale invasion began on February 24 until April 6.

Noting that the “actual figures are likely to be considerably higher” he said “there are strong indications that the executions… may constitute the war crime of wilful killing.”

Beyond the period examined by the report, Turk said his team had continued to document ongoing gross violations affecting both civilians and combatants in the conflict, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence.

But so far, he warned, “accountability remains sorely lacking.”

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