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7 Killed in Ukrainian Shelling of Occupied Kherson, Pro-Russian Forces Say

Authorities in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson occupied by pro-Russia forces said Tuesday that Ukrainian shelling on a city there had killed seven people. 

"There are already seven dead and around 60 wounded" following artillery fire on the city of Nova Kakhovka, the head of the Moscow-backed administration, Vladimir Leontiev, said on Telegram. It was not immediately possible to verify these claims.

Images shared by Russian state-run media showed the extent of the damage and explosions continuing into Tuesday morning after footage released overnight showed huge explosions.

Ukrainian military officials responsible for the south of the country said Ukrainian shelling and missiles had killed 52 Russian servicemen in addition to destroying artillery, armored vehicles "and a warehouse with ammunition in Nova Kakhovka."

But Kherson's Moscow-installed authorities claimed Ukraine had struck a nitrate warehouse with HIMARS rocket systems delivered by the United States.

Leontiev said the shelling destroyed a manufacturing plant that he claimed delivered parts for hydroelectric power plants around the world.

He added that the attack damaged a humanitarian assistance storage site, a hospital, a market and houses within a two-kilometer radius.

"Dozens of homes have been hit... people are being extracted from the rubble," Leontiev said.

"There are no military targets here... warehouses were hit, as were shops, a pharmacy, gas stations and even a church," he said.

Russian forces captured the southern Kherson region, home to a strategic port of the same name, and the southern part of the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region soon after invading Ukraine in late February.

The two regions have since seen a gradual shift into Moscow's orbit, adopting the Russian currency, television and mobile networks and more.

The latest strikes follow Ukrainian officials' announcement last week of a counteroffensive in which they urged residents of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to evacuate.

“There will be a huge battle,” Iryna Vereschuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister of reintegration of temporarily occupied territories, said late Friday.

AFP contributed reporting.

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