Heavy shelling has taken place along much of the front line in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials said Friday.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said that “almost all settlements of the Donetsk region along the front line are under attack.”
Kyrylenko highlighted the plight of the town of Maryinka, where he said 11 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The town had been extensively damaged, with nearly 100 homes destroyed, 13 high-rise buildings and three schools hit, he said.
“Despite constant shelling, civilians are being evacuated from the community on a daily basis. As of today, at least 350 people have been moved from Maryinka,” Kyrylenko said.
Earlier Friday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said the focus of Russian forces in the east had been on capturing the settlements of Popasna and Rubizhne, but they had not succeeded. Russian forces earlier this week were said to have taken parts of Popasna.
“In the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, eight enemy attacks were repulsed during the last 24 hours, four tanks, six armored personnel carriers, four infantry fighting vehicles, and one enemy artillery system were destroyed,” the General Staff said.
Some context: Russian preparations continue to build in eastern Ukraine for an offensive operation, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Thursday.
The Donbas region of eastern Ukraine has been the front line of the country’s conflict with Russia since 2014.
Civilians continue to be evacuated from the region, which has seen weeks of shelling as the Russians’ invasion of Ukraine has shifted focus to seizing control of the Donbas’ two major cities, Donetsk and Luhansk.
Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said Thursday that despite the opening of evacuation corridors, the Russians continued to shell the cities of Luhansk region throughout the day.