Ukrainian forces struck at least three Russian military sites in southern Ukraine as they stepped up their counteroffensive in the region, while Russia continued its shelling of towns and villages east and south of the country.
Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, a breakthrough emerged on July 14 in Istanbul, where Russian and Ukrainian military delegations were brokering a deal to resume Russian-blocked Black Sea grain exports and mitigate the risk of famine faced by millions of people.
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Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command said on July 14 that its forces struck two military checkpoints and an airstrip in the second strike this week on Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, an area under Russian control. in the south. He said 13 Russian “occupiers” had been killed.
The strike came two days after Ukraine said its forces struck a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka, killing 52 soldiers. Russian-installed authorities in the town said at least seven civilians were killed in the assault.
Ukraine’s attacks in the south followed Kyiv’s announcement that it was assembling hundreds of thousands of troops in the region to prepare for a major offensive aimed at retaking territory there while forces Russians were concentrating on capturing the Donbass region, which includes the eastern regions. from Donetsk and Lugansk.
Battlefield claims on either side of the conflict could not be independently verified.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Ukraine’s regional military administration in Donetsk, said three civilians were killed and five injured in shelling in the area, including two in the town of Chasiv Yar.
Chasiv Yar, with a population of around 12,000, was the site of a Russian rocket attack on an apartment building on July 9 that killed 48 people, an attack Ukrainian officials called a “war crime “.
Kyrylenko said Russian shelling also hit a granite factory in Sloviansk. There were no injuries, but the destruction was significant, he said on Telegram, where he job videos of the bombed factory.
The UK Ministry of Defence, in its daily intelligence briefing on July 13, said Russian troops were approaching the towns of Siverskiy and Dolyna, with the urban areas of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk being “the primary targets of this phase of operation “.
The Ukrainian army general staff said on July 14 that Russian forces had been repelled following an attempt to capture the town of Kurulka near Kharkiv, located in northeastern Ukraine but outside the Donbass.
However, he said Russian troops had had “partial success” in an offensive against the village of Kamyanka in southern Ukraine.
In Mykolayiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych told Telegram that rescuers and emergency teams were working on the ground following a bombardment on the southern city of some 476,000 people, 60 kilometers northwest of the port. of Kherson occupied by Russia.
Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians, despite video evidence showing otherwise and widespread destruction of Ukrainian towns.
As broader peace talks have stalled indefinitely between Russia and Ukraine, military contingents from both countries have gathered in Istanbul for talks aimed at restoring wheat and grain exports from Ukrainian ports now occupied by Russia.
Participants said enough progress had been made in the Turkey-UN brokered talks to allow for further sessions next week.