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Russia Advances in East, Kills 5 in Dnipro Strikes


Russia said Wednesday its forces had captured a district in the key hilltop town of Chasiv Yar near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has been pressing for months.

The claim from Moscow came just after Kyiv said that Russian strikes on the industrial city of Dnipro had killed five people and wounded nearly three dozen more including a 14-year-old girl.

The Defense Ministry said its troops had "liberated" the Novy district of Chasiv Yar, but it was unclear if it was claiming its forces had crossed a canal which runs through the eastern part of the town.

The capture of Chasiv Yar — a prized military hub that was once a sleepy town home to some 12,000 people — would pave the way for Russian advances towards the last Ukrainian-controlled civilian centers in the Donetsk region.

Russia's capture of the district was also reported by the DeepState military blog, which has links to the Ukrainian army.

It said the area had been flattened by Russian bombardments, and that withdrawing was "a logical, albeit difficult decision."

There was no immediate reaction from officials in Kyiv.

'Protect lives'

The Russian attack on Dnipro prompted Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to call on allies to help bolster its air defences and provide more long-range weapons to thwart Russian strikes.

"As of now, five people have been killed. My condolences to the families and friends. Thirty-four people were wounded, including a child," Zelensky said in a post on social media.

Russian forces have targeted Dnipro and the surrounding region persistently since their invasion two years ago.

The regional Governor Serhiy Lysak described the attack as "vicious" and said a 14-year-old girl was among those wounded in the attack.

Amateur footage of the attack published by Ukrainian media showed a huge plume of black smoke rising over the city and drivers speeding from the scene.

The air force said its air defense systems had downed six drones and five out of seven missiles that were mainly targeting Dnipro.

The head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional council said the barrage was "massive" and posted images showing buildings ripped open during the attack and shattered glass strewn across the ground.

"This is what one of the city's shopping centres looks like now. Cars and windows were smashed, and a petrol station was hit," Mykola Lukashuk said.

Zelensky said Ukraine needed more air defense systems and long-range weapons to stop further Russian attacks.

"The world can protect lives, and it requires the determination of leaders, determination that can and must make it the norm to protect against terror again," he wrote on social media.

Dnipro had a pre-war population of around 1 million people and lies about 100 kilometers from the nearest point along the southern front line.

More than 40 people were killed in a Russian strike on Dnipro in January 2023, in one of the worst single aerial bombardments by Russian forces.

Separately, officials in Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Kharkiv said two civilians had been killed in overnight Russian attacks.

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