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Ukrainian presidency: 10 killed in latest Russian shelling

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian shelling killed at least 10 Ukrainian civilians and wounded 20 others in a day, the office of Ukraine’s president reported Friday as the country worked to recover from an earlier wave of Russian missile strikes and drone attacks.

The new casualties included the deaths of at least two civilians in the southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recaptured in November, and two more in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province. The missiles and self-propelled drones Russian forces fired Thursday hit deeper into Ukrainian territory, killing at least 11 people.

The bombardment followed announcements by the United States and Germany of plans to ship powerful tanks to help Ukraine defend itself. Other Western countries said they also would share modern tanks from their stockpiles.

Moscow has bristled at the move, and accused Western nations of entering a new level of confrontation with Russia.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko of the eastern Donetsk region said the Russian military used phosphorus munitions in shelling the village of Zvanivka. The village is located about 20 kilometers north of Bakhmut, a city that has become the focus of a grueling battle in recent months. The shelling also damaged apartment buildings and two schools in the nearby town of Vuhledar, Kyrylenko said.

The governor of the neighboring Luhansk region, Serhii Haidai, said Ukrainian shelling hit two Russian bases in the occupied towns of Kreminna and Rubizhne, killing and wounding “dozens” of Russian soldiers. His claim couldn’t be independently verified.

Further south, Russian troops resumed shelling the town of Nikopol, across the Dnieper from the Russia-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, damaging apartment buildings, gas pipelines, power lines and a bakery, officials said.

Separately Friday, Russian authorities took new steps in their months-long and widely criticized effort to graft four Ukrainian provinces onto Russia’s already vast territory. They said the illegally annexed provinces would switch from the time zone that covers Kyiv to the one in Moscow.

The Ukrainian southern and eastern regions that Russia declared as part of its territory four months ago — Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — will take place “in the near future,” Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade said. The move comes as part of what the ministry called the “gradual synchronization” of Russian legislation after the “admission of the four subjects.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s highly orchestrated announcement of the illegal annexations came despite widespread international condemnation and the fact that Russia didn’t fully control the areas it annexed. Russia claims to control nearly all of Luhansk and about half of Donetsk.

Less than 1-1/2 months after the annexations, Russia lost control of the city of Kherson and broad swaths of the surrounding territory under the brunt of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Kherson was the only regional capital Russia seized since starting its invasion on Feb. 24, and its loss dealt a heavy blow to the Kremlin.

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