Russian shelling kills at least two in Ukraine, say Ukraine officials

(Reuters) -Russian forces shelled southern Kherson region and other parts of Ukraine on Sunday, killing at least two people and injuring a dozen more, Ukrainian officials said.

The general in charge of Ukraine’s ground forces said troops were advancing on the eastern front in Kyiv’s counteroffensive to evict Russian invaders.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said troops had beaten back attacks on five sectors of the 1,000-km long (600-mile) front.

Russian accounts said its forces had repelled attacks near the eastern front’s focal point, Bakhmut, and farther north.

Oleksandr Prokudin, governor of Kherson region, said a man had died in Russian shelling in the northern part of the region. Prokudin had earlier reported that a dozen people were wounded in attacks on different localities.

Russian troops abandoned the city of Kherson and the western bank of the Dnipro River in the region late last year but now regularly shell those areas from positions on the eastern bank.

In northeastern Kharkiv region, Governor Oleh Synehubov said a man had died in shelling near the Russian border.

Reuters could not verify reports from either side.

General Oleksandr Syrskyi, head of Ukraine’s ground forces, said he had met troops and commanders engaged in offensive operations near Bakhmut, taken by Russian forces in May after months of battles.

“The enemy is continuing to mass its reserves,” Syrskyi wrote on Telegram. “Our troops are performing their assignments with the aim of proceeding with our advance.”

The General Staff, in its evening report, said Ukrainian troops had repulsed Russian attacks in five areas of the eastern front, including Bakhmut.

In the south, Ukrainian troops have been capturing clusters of villages as they drive toward the Sea of Azov to sever a land bridge created by Russian forces occupying areas of southern and eastern Ukraine.

Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesperson for troops in the south, told national television that Russian troops had started using older weaponry, howitzers and cannons, evidence that Ukrainian forces had been successful in knocking out enemy equipment.

“Sadly, the Russians have plenty of equipment,” he said.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Ron Popeski; Editing by William Mallard and Lisa Shumaker)