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Moscow takes two more east Ukrainian villages

By AFP - Jul 02,2024 - Last updated at Jul 02,2024

This undated handout photo published on the official Telegram channel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine on Saturday, shows firefighters working at the site of a Russian strike in the centre of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region (AFP photo)

MOSCOW — Russia on Monday claimed to have captured two more villages in eastern Ukraine, but also acknowledged that Kyiv's drone attacks were causing power outages in border areas.

Moscow has been making some advances in Ukraine against weakened and outgunned Ukrainian forces, yet over two years of fighting has also been felt in some border towns in Russia.

Following advances over the weekend, Moscow's defence ministry said it took the Ukrainian village of Novopokrovske in the war-battered Donetsk region.

The tiny village lies in an area of the front — northwest of occupied Avdiivka — where Moscow has been claiming to capture a new settlement almost every week this summer.

Moscow also said its forces took the village of Stepova Novoselivka in the Kharkiv region, where Russia launched a renewed local offensive in May.

President Vladimir Putin said Russia has stepped up its push in the northeast to create a buffer against Ukrainian attacks along its border regions.

Kyiv has been hitting Russia’s southern and western regions, with Moscow reporting Monday it had downed 36 drones overnight in several regions.

The governor of the Belgorod region said Ukrainian attacks and shelling killed a four-year-old girl in the last 24 hours.

Officials in several regions reported power cuts following the drone attacks, with the water supply also affected in the main city of Belgorod — that has been targeted by Ukraine since last summer.

“There have been restrictions since early morning,” Belgorod Mayor Valentin Demidov said on social media.

He said the situation was “complex but under control”.

Power cuts in Russia

The attacks affecting civilian life in Russia is likely to be a sensitive issue domestically and comes as Russia targets Ukraine’s energy network, forcing Kyiv to introduce scheduled blackouts.

Air raid sirens were not working in areas affected by power cuts and cars with loud horns were driving through the streets to sound the alarm, Demidov said.

Traffic lights were also not operating, while police were checking main roads, the mayor said.

Governor Gladkov said 150 kindergartens were without power and water supplies to hospitals were also affected.

The neighbouring Kursk and Voronezh regions reported similar problems.

Kursk Governor Alexei Smirnov warned of a possible “deficit of electricity capacity” after the region came under attack.

In the Voronezh region, the local government said some areas were under power restrictions to prevent damage to energy facilities, due to the overloading of the network.

Evacuations

Ukraine, meanwhile, said two women — aged 65 and 70 — were killed in the streets of the eastern town of Ukrainsk by shelling.

Donetsk regional governor, Vadym Filashkin, renewed his call for people to flee frontline villages, but many elderly residents have resisted the calls.

“It is dangerous to stay here! Be responsible! Evacuate!,” Filashkin wrote on social media.

As Russian forces eye the city of Toretsk -- a part of the front in the Donetsk region that was relatively quiet until recently — Kyiv said it had evacuated 700 residents over the last three days from the mining town.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said some 5,000 people remain in the town, which was estimated to have a population of around 30,000 people before Moscow’s offensive.

The Kremlin declared it had annexed the Donetsk region along with three others in late 2022 even though its forces were still fighting to control the area.

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