KYIV-Two people were killed and one wounded on Saturday after Russian forces shelled a village near the town of Kupiansk in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, hitting a cafe, officials said. Officials in Kupiansk, four miles (six kilometres) from the frontline, had urged vulnerable residents living near the town to evacuate earlier this month as Russia stepped up attacks to recapture the area. “According to the preliminary information of the medical staff, two people died in Podoly village as a result of the shelling, another one was wounded,” Kharkiv governor Oleg Synegubov said on social media.
“The enemy hit a civilian target -- a cafe, where local residents were spending the day,” he added. The Ukrainian prosecutors’ office published photos from the scene that appeared to show shards of debris and an upturned table scattered outside a building, as the blurred bodies of two people lay nearby. “Law enforcement officers are taking priority measures to record the crime committed by the army of the aggressor country,” it said. The Russian military has claimed over recent days that it is advancing near the area, which was recaptured by Ukraine last year but is now subject to a renewed offensive. Ukraine said last week that Russian shelling in Zaoskillya, a suburb just east of Kupiansk, killed an elderly woman. Kyiv launched its long-anticipated counteroffensive to reclaim occupied territory in June but has acknowledged tough battles as it struggles to break through heavily fortified Russian positions.
Whereas Russia said Saturday that its air defences shot down one drone approaching Moscow and another in a border region while Ukrainian shelling wounded six in a border town. Russia and the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula have been hit by a wave of attacks in recent days as Kyiv warns it aims to bring the conflict back to Russia.
The Russian defence ministry said one drone was destroyed approaching Moscow at around 03:00 Moscow time (0000 GMT) and another close to the border in Belgorod region at 09:00 (0600 GMT). Moscow, which was rarely attacked during the early stages of the conflict, is now being targeted by almost daily drone strikes. “Tonight, air defence forces destroyed a drone on approach to Moscow in the Istrinskii district,” the capital’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on Telegram. “Preliminarily, there were no casualties or damage. Emergency services are working on the site,” he added. The drone attacks came as the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said Kyiv shelled the town of Urazovo, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Ukrainian border, injuring six people.
Russian regions bordering Ukraine have regularly reported indiscriminate shelling by Kyiv’s armed forces and occasional cross-border incursions by Ukrainian-backed militants.