Ukrainian authorities said Russian shells blasted a residential building in the eastern city of Slovyansk, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 20, while British military intelligence said Ukrainian troops had been forced to pull back from some areas in and around Bakhmut as the Kremlin’s forces intensified their assault on the besieged and mostly ruined city.
“The Russians launched several strikes on residential areas of the city, destroyed high-rise buildings, and damaged a school,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, said on April 14.
Kyrylenko later told Ukrainian television that “eight people died and 21 people were injured.”
Kyrylenko initially put the death toll at five with 15 injured but said that “there is a possibility that seven people, including one child, are under the rubble.”
Ukrainian police tweeted that among the dead was a 2-year-old child who “died in an ambulance” after being pulled from the ruins.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that “the evil state once again demonstrates its essence.… Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life.”
Moscow routinely denies that it has targeted civilian areas despite widespread evidence of such attacks.
Earlier, the Ukrainian military said its forces had repelled 49 attacks by invading Russian forces over the past day in the east as intense fighting continued in and around Bakhmut.
“The enemy isn’t giving up on his plans to occupy our territory despite significant losses,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its daily update on April 14. “The fiercest battles continue for Bakhmut and Maryinka,” it added.
“Russia has re-energized its assault” on Bakhmut, the British Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on April 14, adding that Russian military forces and Wagner mercenaries “have improved cooperation.”
The intelligence report said that Ukrainian troops had been forced to withdraw from some territory in Bakhmut, which Russian forces have struggled to capture over several months from determined Ukrainian defenders.
“The Ukrainian defense still holds the western districts of the town but has been subjected to particularly intense Russian artillery fire over the previous 48 hours,” the British Defense Ministry said.
On April 13, Moscow claimed to have cut off Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut, but the head of the Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said it remains “too early” to say the city has been surrounded.
Serhiy Chervatiy, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, told the AFP news agency that the Ukrainian military still had communication with troops in Bakhmut and were able to resupply them with ammunition.
“This does not correspond to reality,” Chervatiy said in response to the Russian claims.
Battlefield reports could not immediately be verified.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, has ordered his military to gain complete control of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson, areas he claims Russia has illegally annexed. Ukraine has indicated it will soon launch a counteroffensive to take back more territory.
Ukraine will “test and use” any non-banned weapons to liberate its territory, including Russian-occupied Crimea, the head of its National Security and Defense Council said on April 14.
“Crimea is the territory of Ukraine, and we will test and use there any weapons not prohibited by international laws that will help liberate our territories,” Oleksiy Danilov tweeted.