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Three killed and 17 hurt from Russian attacks in Ukraine
1 July 2023, 17:14
It comes as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visits Kyiv.
More civilian casualties from Russian shelling have been reported in Ukraine’s east and south, officials said.
It comes as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez began a visit to Kyiv in a show of continuing support from Madrid and the European Union for Ukraine’s fight to dislodge invading Russian forces from its territory.
In an address to Ukraine’s parliament that received several standing ovations, Mr Sanchez said: “We’ll be with you as long as it takes.”
On the day Spain took over the six-month rotating presidency of the 27-nation EU on Saturday, he added: “I am here to express the firm determination of the European (Union) and Europe against the illegal and unjustified Russian aggression to Ukraine.”
At a later news conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Sanchez announced Spain would deliver more heavy weaponry to Ukraine including four Leopard tanks and armoured personnel carriers, as well as a portable field hospital.
He also said Spain will provide an additional 55 million euro (£47 million) to help with reconstruction needs.
Regional officials said at least three civilians were killed and at least 17 more hurt by Russian shelling on Friday and overnight.
Three people died and 10 more suffered wounds on Friday in the frontline eastern Donetsk region, where fierce battles are raging, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Saturday.
The Ukrainian General Staff said fierce clashes continued in three areas in Donetsk where it said Russia has massed troops and tried to advance.
In the latest regular social media update, the General Staff named the outskirts of three cities — Bakhmut, Lyman and Marinka — as frontline hot spots and said Russia over the previous day staged unsuccessful assault attempts there.
Five people including a child were hurt on Friday and overnight in the Kherson region in the south, governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.
Mr Prokudin said Russian forces launched 82 artillery, drone, mortar shell and rocket attacks on the province, which is cut in two by a stretch of the 930-mile frontline and still reeling from flooding unleashed by the collapse earlier this month of a major Dnipro river dam.
In the north-eastern Kharkiv region, Russian shelling over the previous day hurt a 57-year-old civilian man, local governor Oleh Syniehubov said the same morning.
In the Sumy region further west, a teenage boy was hurt in a strike from across the Russian border, the local military administration reported.
Referring to possible peace talks, the Spanish leader said: “Only Ukraine can set the terms and times for peace negotiations. Other countries and regions are proposing peace plans. Their involvement is much appreciated, but, at the same time, we can’t accept them entirely.
“This is a war of aggression, with an aggressor and a victim. They cannot be treated equally and ignoring the rules should in no way be rewarded. That is why that is why we support President Zelensky’s peace formula.”
At the news conference, Mr Zelensky expressed frustration about the lack of clarity over Western training for Ukrainian fighter pilots.
He said Western allies have not yet set a timetable to train pilots on US-made F-16s despite their expressions of readiness. “I think that some partners are delaying this process – why they do this I have no idea,” he said.
He also renewed Ukraine’s claim that Russia is prepared to cause a potential nuclear catastrophe at the Moscow-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as Ukraine continues to make steady advances along the front line.
“Russia is technically ready to provoke a local explosion at the station that could cause an emission of dangerous substances in the air,” Mr Zelensky said.
“We are clearly communicating, we discussed the need with our partners so everyone understands why Russia is doing this.”
The introduction of F-16s to the war could give Ukraine a much needed edge over Russia, which currently enjoys air superiority.