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Russia bombards Ukraine with shelling in north, cluster bombs in Mykolaiv and missiles in Odesa

Russia has stepped up its bombardment across Ukraine, with intense shelling of Sumy in the north, banned cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odesa in the south.

At least two civilians were killed and 15 wounded by Russian shelling across the country over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office said.

In Odesa, an attack injured at least four people, burned houses to the ground and set other homes on fire, Oleksii Matsulevych, a spokesman for the regional administration, said.

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the region, hitting houses, a school and a community centre. 

Russian forces targeted Mykolaiv with cluster shells, injuring at least two people and damaging windows and roofs of private houses, the Ukrainian city’s mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said.

More than 150 mines and shells had been fired on the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the head of the Sumy regional military administration, said.

‘They fired mortars, barrel and rocket artillery. The Russians also opened fire using machine guns and grenade launchers,’ he said.

A firefighter tries to tackle a blaze in Odesa after a building was struck by Russian shelling as Putin’s forces maintain their heavy bombardment of Ukraine

Ukrainian rescuers work outside a house destroyed following a Russian airstrike in a village in the Odesa region today

Ukrainian rescuers work outside a house destroyed following a Russian airstrike in a village in the Odesa region today

Police officers stand in front of a burning building after an air strike hit the courtyard of civilian residences in the centre of Kramatorsk

Police officers stand in front of a burning building after an air strike hit the courtyard of civilian residences in the centre of Kramatorsk

A destroyed building is seen after Russian missile attack hit the village of Dachnoye in Odesa today

A destroyed building is seen after Russian missile attack hit the village of Dachnoye in Odesa today

Firemen extinguish a fire in a burning building after an air strike hit the courtyard of civilian residences in the centre of Kramatorsk

Firemen extinguish a fire in a burning building after an air strike hit the courtyard of civilian residences in the centre of Kramatorsk

The Russian Defence Ministry said strikes on the village of Bilenke in Odesa had a legitimate military goal and ‘destroyed depots of ammunition for weapons supplied by the United States and European countries’.

‘These strikes on peaceful people have one goal – to intimidate the population and the authorities and keep them in constant tension,’ Serhiy Bratchuk, the speaker of the Odesa regional government, told Ukrainian television.

Russian troops have tried unsuccessfully to advance towards the city of Avdiyivka north of Donetsk, the head of Avdiyivka’s military administration, Vitaliy Barabash, said on Tuesday.

He said Ukrainian forces have pushed back the Russians after the latter attacked for several days.

‘Enemy losses are much bigger than ours,’ he said, and include about 40 dead.

Kyiv hopes the war is at a turning point, with Moscow having exhausted its offensive capabilities in seizing a few small cities in the east, while Ukraine now fields long-range Western weapons that can strike behind Russian lines.

Kyiv cites a string of successful strikes on 30 Russian logistics and ammunition hubs, which it says are crippling Russia’s artillery-dominated forces that need to transport thousands of shells to the front each day.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, credited U.S.-supplied advanced long-range rocket systems known as HIMARS with helping to ‘stabilize the situation’ through ‘major strikes at enemy command points, ammunition and fuel storage warehouses.’

Russian cruise missiles struck villages around southern Ukraine's port city of Odesa early on Tuesday, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russian cruise missiles struck villages around southern Ukraine's port city of Odesa early on Tuesday, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russian cruise missiles struck villages around southern Ukraine’s port city of Odesa early on Tuesday, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the Odesa region today as the forces stepped up their bombardment of the port city

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the Odesa region today as the forces stepped up their bombardment of the port city

The Russian Defence Ministry said strikes on the village of Bilenke had a legitimate military goal and 'destroyed depots of ammunition for weapons supplied by the United States and European countries'

The Russian Defence Ministry said strikes on the village of Bilenke had a legitimate military goal and ‘destroyed depots of ammunition for weapons supplied by the United States and European countries’

In recent weeks the Russian military has targeted Odesa and parts of southern Ukraine where its troops captured cities earlier in the war amid indications that Ukraine was planning counterattacks to retake Russian-occupied areas

In recent weeks the Russian military has targeted Odesa and parts of southern Ukraine where its troops captured cities earlier in the war amid indications that Ukraine was planning counterattacks to retake Russian-occupied areas

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the region, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the region, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russian forces fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles at the region, hitting houses, a school and a community centre

Russia said on Monday that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the military to concentrate on destroying Ukraine’s Western-supplied rockets and artillery.

European Union foreign ministers on Monday agreed to provide Ukraine with another 500 million euros ($504 million) in EU funds for arms, raising the bloc’s support to 2.5 billion euros since Moscow invaded on Feb. 24.

In the south, Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to recapture the biggest swath of territory taken since the invasion. Ukraine reported destroying Russian missile systems, communications, radar, ammunition depots and armoured vehicles in strikes in the southern Kherson region.

In the east, Ukrainian forces withdrew at the start of July from Luhansk, one of two provinces Russia claims on behalf of its separatist proxies.

Kyiv says Moscow is planning another assault to capture the last Ukrainian-held pocket of neighbouring Donetsk province.

A burnt car is seen in front of a destroyed house following another Russian strike in a village in Odesa despite Kremlin claims it is only striking military targets

A burnt car is seen in front of a destroyed house following another Russian strike in a village in Odesa despite Kremlin claims it is only striking military targets

Putin's forces have shifted to a campaign of devastating strikes to extend its control of Ukraine's south and east after failing to capture Kyiv

Putin’s forces have shifted to a campaign of devastating strikes to extend its control of Ukraine’s south and east after failing to capture Kyiv

Russia said on Monday that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the military to concentrate on destroying Ukraine's Western-supplied rockets and artillery

Russia said on Monday that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the military to concentrate on destroying Ukraine’s Western-supplied rockets and artillery

In the south, Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to recapture the biggest swath of territory taken since the invasion

In the south, Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to recapture the biggest swath of territory taken since the invasion

Putin’s forces have shifted to a campaign of devastating strikes to extend its control of Ukraine’s south and east after failing to capture Kyiv in the early days of the invasion.

Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians. Moscow says it is hitting military targets.

Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia had fired more than 3,000 cruise missiles and uncountable artillery shells during the five-month conflict.

The missile strikes came as the British military said it believes Russia is facing ‘increasingly acute’ problems in keeping up its troop strength in its grinding war of attrition that began with the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Russia ‘has struggled to sustain effective offensive combat power since the start of the invasion, and this problem is likely becoming increasingly acute’ as Moscow seeks to conquer the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

The Mod added: ‘While Russia may still make further territorial gains, their operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow without a significant operational pause for reorganisation and refit.’

Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia had fired more than 3,000 cruise missiles and uncountable artillery shells during the five-month conflict

Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia had fired more than 3,000 cruise missiles and uncountable artillery shells during the five-month conflict

The British military said it believes Russia is facing 'increasingly acute' problems in keeping up its troop strength in its grinding war of attrition that began with the February 24 invasion of Ukraine

The British military said it believes Russia is facing ‘increasingly acute’ problems in keeping up its troop strength in its grinding war of attrition that began with the February 24 invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians

Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians

The recent attacks came as Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, visited Washington at the invitation of US first lady Jill Biden, meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Mr Blinken assured her of the United States’ commitment to Ukraine, and commended her for her work with civilians dealing with trauma and other damage from the war.

Over the weekend, Zelensky suspended the country’s security chief and top prosecutor, saying they failed to purge Russian spies from their organizations.

Despite his disclosure of Russian penetration of the SBU, U.S. officials on Monday said Washington would continue sharing intelligence that U.S. officials have said Kyiv uses to respond to Moscow’s attacks.

This week could be pivotal for European countries concerned about the impact of war and sanctions on gas supplies.

Russia is due to reopen its main natural gas pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 1, in coming days after regular maintenance, but Europeans are worried Moscow could keep it closed.

Russia’s Gazprom, which operates the pipeline, has told customers in Europe it cannot guarantee gas supplies because of ‘extraordinary’ circumstances, according to a letter seen by Reuters, upping the ante in an economic tit-for-tat with the West.

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