Missiles hit bodies on the streets of Liv, Mariupol

  • Major cities in Ukraine have been affected by the explosions
  • The governor of Luhansk urges the people to evacuate
  • Ukrainian militants are staying in some areas of Mariupol

LVIV / KYIV, April 18 (Reuters) – Ukrainian authorities on Monday killed six people in a missile strike on the western city of Lviv, and explosions rocked other cities, as Russian forces continued their bombing of the southern port of Mariupol.

The Russian military, which has retreated from Ukrainian opposition in the north, has re-focused its ground offensive in two eastern provinces known as Donbass, while conducting long-range attacks on other targets, including the capital Kiev.

The capture of Mariupol would be a major strategic gift to Russia, which annexes territory held by pro-Russian separatists in the east to the Crimean region, which annexed Moscow in 2014.

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Lviv Regional Governor Maksym Kozystkiy said the missiles hit military facilities and a car tire service center.

The mayor of the city, Andriy Sadoviy, said eleven people were injured, in addition to the six who were killed, and the blast shattered the windows of a hotel evacuated by Ukrainians from other parts of the country. read more

In Kiev, a Reuters reporter heard of a series of bombings near the Dniebro River, while the media outlet Suspilne reported that two people had been injured in an attack south of the Dnipropetrovsk.

Russia denies targeting civilians and rejects Ukraine’s claim that it is evidence of atrocities committed to undermine peace talks.

Launched almost two months ago, it calls for a special military operation to militarize Ukraine and eliminate so-called dangerous nationalists.

The West and Kiev accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of unprovoked aggression.

On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had destroyed four weapons and military equipment depots in Ukraine overnight and hit 315 Ukrainian targets, the TASS news agency reported.

Battle for Mariupol

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Schmidt said troops were still fighting Sunday in the port of Mariupol, despite the Russian demand for surrender.

“The city has not yet fallen,” he told ABC’s “This Week” program, and Ukrainian troops continued to control parts of the southeastern city.

On Saturday, Russia claimed control of the city, although some Ukrainian militants were stationed at Azovstal Steelworks, one of Europe’s largest metallurgical plants, covering more than 11 square kilometers (4.25 square miles) and overlooking the Sea of ​​Azov. read more

Prior to the war, Moscow was an even larger city by Ukrainian authorities in Donbass, where Moscow demanded that Ukraine be ceded to pro-Russian separatists.

This would unite Russian forces on the two main axes of the invasion and free them to join the expected new offensive against the main Ukrainian force in the east.

On the streets of Mariupol, small groups of bodies lined up under colorful blankets, surrounded by shredded trees and burnt buildings.

Residents, some pushing bicycles, came around destroyed tanks and civilian vehicles as Russian soldiers checked the drivers’ documents.

A resident, Irina, was leaving with her daughter-in-law, who was injured in the shelling.

“I hope they will rebuild (Mariupol). The most important thing is the utility systems. Summer will pass fast and in winter it will be difficult,” he said.

Sergei Kaidoi, governor of the Luhansk region, said street fighting had begun between Ukrainian and Russian troops and that people had been asked to leave again.

The Russians advanced overnight and captured Crimea, he said in a televised speech, adding that authorities could no longer take people out of the city.

“Next week will be tough,” he said in an earlier post on his Facebook page. “This may be the last time we’ve got to save you.”

About four million Ukrainians have fled the country since the invasion began on February 24, cities have been devastated and thousands have died.

The economic damage is significant. Schmidt said Ukraine’s budget deficit was $ 5 billion a month and urged Western governments to provide more financial assistance.

On Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky said he had discussed with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Krystalina Georgieva about ensuring his country’s financial stability and preparations for post-war restructuring.

He was quoted as saying that support was needed to lay the foundation for the reconstruction. read more

Ukraine quickly made efforts to join the EU because the authorities had completed the questionnaire, which was the starting point for deciding on EU membership. read more

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Report by Reuters journalists in Kiev and Lviv; Additional reporting by Reuters consoles worldwide; Written by Alexandra Hudson; Editing Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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