Ukraine said Thursday that Russian strikes had killed five people in the east of the country after President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow’s forces were aiming to “destroy” the region.
In a report issued by the presidency, Kyiv said two people had been killed and two more wounded in the eastern Lugansk region while another three had been killed and seven wounded in the neighbouring Donetsk region.
The presidency said “fighting was continuing along the entire front line” in Donetsk.
In a late-night address Thursday, Zelensky said that “Donbas is the main target for Russia”.
“It’s Donbas that Russia wants to destroy. It is the Lugansk and Donetsk regions that Russian troops are destroying so that only stones remain and so there are no people left at all.”
The statement added that explosions were heard in the Vasylkiv area outside the capital and that according to initially available information, air defences had been activated.
Since Russian troops began withdrawing from regions of the capital last month, air sirens have been heard less frequently.
They have instead focused on gaining control of the eastern Donbas region.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry warned Friday it would intensify attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in response to strikes on Russian soil, after accusing Ukraine of targeting Russian border towns.
“The number and scale of missile strikes against targets in Kyiv will increase in response to any terrorist attacks or sabotage committed by the Kyiv nationalist regime on Russian territory,” the ministry said in a statement.
Russia hit a “military” factory outside Kyiv late Thursday using Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles, it added.