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Russian Strike in East Ukraine Kills 5, Wounds Dozens

Roman Pilipey / AFP

Russian strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk killed five people and wounded dozens more on Monday, the governor of the Donetsk region said.

Over recent weeks, Moscow has concentrated its firepower on the eastern industrial region of Donetsk, which the Kremlin claims is part of Russia.

AFP journalists at the scene of the strike saw residents picking through debris next to a deep crater and residential buildings shredded by the blast wave.

"Five were killed and 41 wounded," the regional Governor Vadym Filashkin said.

"Among the wounded are four children: a boy of 12 years old, and girls of 9, 11 and 13 years old," he added on social media.

Filashkin said two Russian-fired Iskander-M missiles destroyed and damaged several homes in Pokrovsk, which had a pre-war population of around 61,000.

"This is one of the largest hostile attacks on civilians in recent times. Its final consequences are yet to be determined," Filashkin added.

Nikolay Kurilov said he was watering flowers in his garden when one of the projectiles landed less than 500 meters away.

"And boom. I almost fell over," the 70-year-old recounted to AFP.

"And about 15 minutes later, there was another boom. We started calling relatives," he said.

Russian forces have been advancing towards Pokrovsk over recent months, since they captured the fortress town of Avdiivka in February.

Filashkin said separately that a 62-year-old man had been killed in a Russian attack on the town of Kurakhove, south of Pokrovsk.

"The Russians dropped a guided aerial missile on the town and an infrastructure facility was damaged," he said, without elaborating.

Filashkin also said that Russian forces had killed a 63-year-old civilian in the town of Toretsk, where Moscow's troops have stepped up attacks following a protracted lull.

Russia claimed to have annexed Donetsk in late 2022, along with three other regions of Ukraine it had partially occupied.

Parts of Donetsk have been controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists since 2014.

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