(Reuters) – Russian forces shelled southern Ukraine’s Kherson region on Sunday, killing two people and injuring at least eight, the region’s governor said, as Ukraine’s armed forces said they were keeping in check Russian advances in the east and south.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, newly returned from a visit to the United States and Canada, praised Ukrainian forces for successes in both areas of a three-month-old counteroffensive, but he gave no indication any new movement forward.
Kherson governor Oleksandr Prodkudin, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said shelling from the Russian-held eastern bank of the Dnipro River had hit private homes in Beryslav, on the Ukrainian-held west bank. A man was killed in the nearby village of Lvove.
An air strike on Kherson, the region’s main town, injured at least five people and caused considerable damage to buildings.
The Russian military abandoned positions on the west bank of the river and in Kherson city late last year.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said the country’s forces had repelled Russian attacks on two villages near Bakhmut, where Kyiv has been trying to regain ground lost when the city fell to Moscow’s forces in May.
In its evening report, it said Russian forces had “tried to restore lost positions near Klishchiivka … but were unsuccessful.”
The Ukrainian military last week said it had captured Klishchiivka, a strategic village on heights south of Bakhmut, and Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address, praised Ukrainian units for their “firmness” in operations around the village.
Zelenskiy singled out another Ukrainian unit for “showing true Ukrainian might” near the village of Verbove on the southern front. The military last week also announced that Verbove was under control of the Ukrainian military.
The general staff report noted that Ukrainian troops were continuing to advance in the Melitopol sector — where Kyiv hopes to advance to the Sea of Azov and sever a landbridge created by Russian forces between annexed Crimea and areas it has held in the east for more than a year.
The Ukrainian offensive, undertaken with new weapons supplied by the United States and its allies, has focused on capturing villages in both the east and the south.
Zelenskiy and other Ukrainian officials reject Western criticism that the advance has been too slow and hampered by poor tactics.
(Reporting by Ronald Popeski and Nick Starkov; Editing by Mark Porter)
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