Three dead in Russian missile attack on Zaporizhzhia apartment block in Ukraine

Civilians dead as attack overnight on five-storey building in the southern Ukrainian city caused its partial collapse

Three dead in Russian missile attack on Zaporizhzhia apartment block in UkraineAt least three people have been killed in a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Zaporizhzhia.

Four people were also wounded in the attack overnight on the five-storey building in the southern Ukrainian city that caused its partial collapse, Ukrainian police said.

Eleven people were rescued, the state emergencies service said in a statement. Among them was a pregnant woman, according to reports

The strike came as Russian forces were also making preparations for new attacks in the central Zaporizhzhia region and on the southern front in the Kherson region, the military said.

More than 40 towns and villages were shelled, it said, including the regional centre of Kherson and other towns on the west bank of the Dnipro River, abandoned by Russia in November.

Ukrainian forces hung onto their positions amid fierce fighting around the eastern city of Bakhmut which is under constant attack from Russian troops.

Russia says seizing Bakhmut would open the way to fully controlling the rest of the strategic Donbas industrial region bordering Russia, one of the main objectives of its invasion launched on February 24 last year.

Delivering a regular morning roundup of the situation across the frontlines, the Ukraine military general staff said on Thursday that the enemy was continuing to advance toward Bakhmut and “is storming the city”.

It said Ukrainian forces were repelling attacks in Bakhmut and in other settlements in the Donetsk region that were coming under fire.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that his forces “are keeping each sector of the front under control”.

Ukraine says Bakhmut has limited strategic value but has nevertheless put up fierce resistance. A Ukrainian MP said that defending Bakhmut can go on indefinitely.

“I believe that sooner or later, we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. There is no sense in holding it at any cost,” Serhiy Rakhmanin said on NV radio late on Wednesday.

“But for the moment, Bakhmut will be defended with several aims — firstly, to inflict as many Russian losses as possible and make Russia use its ammunition and resources,” he said, adding that no lines of defence should be allowed to collapse.

The battle for Bakhmut began about seven months ago, but in recent weeks Russian advances from three sides have left defenders with the only way out to the west.

Thousands of civilians remain in the ruined city, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000.

“There is a danger that our garrison in Bakhmut will be encircled,” military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a post on YouTube assessing the situation as “critical”.

“The enemy is attempting to sever the routes used to supply our forces in Bakhmut and halt all movement along them,” he said. “The Russian forces cannot win street battles in Bakhmut or take the city by attacking head-on. The only way they can take the city is to surround it.” Mr Zhdanov gave a graphic description of Russian efforts to force Ukrainian troops to abandon positions on the east bank of the Bakhmutka river.

“They are applying what can be described as colossal pressure, with wave upon wave of attacks. They bring in reinforcements in trucks and take away their wounded aboard the same trucks. This process is constant — like a conveyor belt — around the clock.”

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