Ukraine, Russia accuse each other of shelling civilians in Zaporizhzhia

(Reuters) – Three civilians were wounded in Russian shelling of a village in Zaporizhzhia, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration said on Saturday, while Moscow-backed officials said that Kyiv’s forces shelled a school there.

Fighting has been taking place in Zaporizhzhia for months, a frontline region in southern Ukraine that Moscow moved to annex last year but does not occupy it in its entirety. The regional capital, the city of Zaporizhzhia, remains under Kyiv’s control.

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, said on his Telegram messaging app that Russian forces shelled the village of Stepnohirske in the region from multiple rocket launchers, hitting an administrative building.

“There are three wounded: two women and a men,” Yermak said.

Russia also shelled the city of Zaporizhzhia, hitting and damaging at least 16 buildings there, Anatoliy Kurtiev, secretary of the city council said on the Telegram.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in parts of Zaporizhzhia controlled by Moscow, said that Ukrainian forces destroyed a school in the village of Stulneve, while air defence forces intercepted a drone over the city of Tokmak.

Reuters could not independently verify neither of the reports. Both sides deny targeting civilians in the nearly 17-month long war that Russia has been waging on its neighbour.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday it had destroyed a number of Ukrainian weapon depots in the region over the past day. Ukraine’s top military command said that Russia is trying to stop Ukraine’s advance there, shelling heavily the area.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed again on Saturday to liberate all the land that Russia occupies.

“We cannot leave any of our people, any towns and villages under Russian occupation,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “Wherever the Russian occupation continues, violence and humiliation of people reign.”

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Diane Craft)