NEWS Ukraine attacks occupied Melitopol, Russia says two dead

Ukraine attacks occupied Melitopol, Russia says two dead

KYIV, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Ukraine attacked occupied Melitopol in the southeast of the country on Saturday night, Ukrainian authorities in the strategic city, which Russia has planted and is in exile, said.

Pro-Moscow authorities said the missile strike killed two people and wounded ten others, while the exiled mayor said dozens of “intruders” had been killed.

Reuters could not independently verify reports of the attack or the death.

“The air defense system destroyed two missiles and four missiles hit the target,” Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the occupied Zaporozhye region, said on the Telegram messaging app. Say.

He said an “entertainment center” where people dined was destroyed in the Ukrainian attack with HIMARS missiles.

The mayor in exile, Ivan Fedorov, said on his Telegram channel that the attack hit a church that the Russians had turned into a meeting place.

Another Moscow official in the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye region, Vladimir Rogov, said a fire sparked by the strike engulfed the entertainment center. He posted a video of a building on fire.

The HIMARS multiple rocket launcher has been one of Ukraine’s most effective weapons in the war, delivering precision fire at hundreds of targets, including Russian command posts. On Friday, the United States said it would send more aid to Kiev to bolster its air defenses and defeat drones.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its air defenses shot down five rockets fired by HIMARS near the cities of Donetsk and Melitopol in the past 24 hours.

Melito, a major industrial and transport hub occupied by Russia since March, said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Bol was key to the southern defense.

“All the logistics connecting the Russian army in the east of the Kherson region and all the way to the Russian border near Mariupol is carried through it,” Arestovich said in a video interview on social media.

“If Melitopol falls, the entire defense line to Kherson will collapse. Ukrainian troops will gain direct access to Crimea.”

The Ukrainian army had no immediate comment on the attack. Earlier in the day, the Central Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said it had been carrying out strikes on Melitopol.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said its forces continued offensive operations near the city of Leman in the Donetsk region and repelled Ukrainian counterattacks. Russian authorities use the town’s Russian name, Krasny Liman.

Reporting by Nick Starkov in Kiev; Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by William Mallard and Alex Richardson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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