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Latest in Ukraine: More Than 40 Injured in Attack on Town in Kharkiv


FILE - A "No Drone Zone" sign is seen posted in central Moscow, May 31, 2023, prohibiting unmanned aerial vehicles from flying over the area. Russia on Tuesday accused Ukraine of launching drone attacks against targets in and near Moscow.
FILE - A "No Drone Zone" sign is seen posted in central Moscow, May 31, 2023, prohibiting unmanned aerial vehicles from flying over the area. Russia on Tuesday accused Ukraine of launching drone attacks against targets in and near Moscow.

Latest developments:

  • Ukraine's Armed Forces said it had destroyed a formation of Russian forces in the Moscow-controlled Makiivka in the Donetsk region; Russia-installed officials said one civilian was killed and 36 were injured in the attack by Ukrainian forces.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for the extension of an agreement allowing for the export of grain from Ukrainian ports.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden has more work to do before Turkey can support a Swedish bid to join NATO. "Everyone must accept that Turkey's friendship cannot be won by supporting terrorism or by making space for terrorists," Erdogan said.

More than 40 people, including 12 children, were injured Tuesday in a Russian strike on the town of Pervomayskiy, in the eastern Kharkiv region, Ukrainian officials said, as the Ukrainian military reported continued heavy fighting in the Donetsk region.

Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on the messaging app Telegram that the shelling took place around 1:35 p.m. local time, setting several cars on fire and blowing out the windows of residential buildings.

Syniehubov said 43 people were injured in the missile attack. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said the number of injured was 41, including 12 children. There was no explanation for the discrepancy.

The strike hit a parking lot outside the residential building in Pervomayskiy, which is relatively far from current hotspots in the Donbas region.

Eight high-rise buildings and eight cars were damaged as a result of the rocket attack, the Interior Ministry said.

Andriy Yermak, chief of staff for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also commented on the attack, saying the Russians fired "a high-explosive shell."

Elsewhere in Ukraine, General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, the head of Ukraine's southern command, said Ukrainian troops pushed the enemy from a number of positions.

"The defense forces are advancing in the [southern] direction," Tarnavskiy said on Telegram. "Units of missile troops and artillery performed 1,283 fire missions during the day."

He said the fighting took out three companies of Russian troops — killed or wounded — and equipment, including two tanks and anti-aircraft missiles.

The battlefield claims could not be independently verified.

The General Staff of Ukraine's military early Tuesday reported heavy fighting in the Bakhmut, Lyman, Avdiyivka and Maryinka areas in Donetsk. It said there had been a total of 40 combat clashes during the previous 24 hours.

Also Tuesday, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of plotting to stage an attack on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.

Zelenskyy said he told French President Emmanuel Macron about "dangerous provocations" by Russia at the plant in southeastern Ukraine.

Russian troops seized the plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility with six reactors, in the days following the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Each side has since regularly accused the other of shelling around the plant and risking a major nuclear mishap.

Elsewhere, Russia said it downed five Ukrainian drones Tuesday that attacked Moscow and the surrounding region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said air defenses shot down four of the drones, while the fifth was electronically jammed and crashed.

The drones temporarily disrupted operations at Vnukovo International Airport on the southwest side of Moscow, causing officials to reroute planes to other airports.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the drone attack was an "act of terrorism" by Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials.

Ukraine typically does not claim responsibility for attacks on Russian territory.

Britain's Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces have responded to the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched last month by adjusting tactics, including the heavy use of anti-tank mines.

"Having slowed the Ukrainian advance, Russia has then attempted to strike Ukrainian armored vehicles with one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles, attack helicopters and artillery," the British Defense Ministry said in a daily assessment.

Ukraine has cited some progress amid heavy fighting as it tries to reclaim land seized by Russia since Russian forces invaded in February 2022.

NATO summit

The upcoming NATO summit, scheduled for July 11-12 in Vilnius, Lithuania, arrives at a critical juncture for NATO and European security with the Kyiv counteroffensive and political upheaval in Moscow.

Ukraine formally applied to join NATO last year, but all member states have now agreed that Ukraine will not join the alliance before the war there ends.

During a Monday news conference in Brussels, NATO's top military official, Admiral Rob Bauer, acknowledged that Ukraine's road to victory will be difficult and lengthy.

Bauer drew a comparison between breaking through these obstacles and fighting in Normandy during World War II. "We saw in Normandy in the Second World War that it took seven, eight, nine weeks for the allies to actually break through the defensive lines of the Germans. And so, it is not a surprise that it is not going fast," he said.

Bauer also cautioned that Russia's armed forces are bruised but by no means beaten in the Ukraine fighting. "They might not be 11 feet tall, but they are certainly not two feet tall," he told reporters. "So, we should never underestimate the Russians and their ability to bounce back."

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.