Ukraine reports that Russian shelling Thursday on Kharkiv killed at least two persons and wounded 19 others.
Regional governor Oleg Synegubov said the deaths included one child and that four people were in bad condition.
Britain’s defense minister said Thursday that Russian soldiers were waging small-scale assaults along the front line in the Donbas region, the portion of eastern Ukraine that has been a focus of its battle.
The ministry started in its daily assessment that Russia was likely closing in on the Vuhlehirska power plant northeast of Donetsk and that Russian soldiers prioritized capturing important infrastructure locations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday that Moscow intends to conquer territories in southern Ukraine beyond the Donbas area.
Russia failed in the early phases of its five-month offensive to oust the administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or conquer the capital, Kyiv, in northern Ukraine.
But Lavrov said in an interview Wednesday with state media that Russia no longer feels restricted to fighting in the Donbas, where Russian separatists have been battling Kyiv’s army since 2014, when Russia seized Ukraine’s the Crimean Peninsula.
“Now, the geography has changed. It's not simply Donetsk and Luhansk. It's Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and several other areas. This process is continuing, constantly and persistently,” Lavrov told the state news RT television and RIA Novosti news agency.
Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, warned Moscow’s geographical aims would expand further if Western countries provided more long-range weapons to Kyiv.
The U.S. revealed Wednesday's intentions to transfer four similar rocket launchers to Ukraine and extra artillery rounds.
“Ukrainian forces are now using long-range rocket systems to great effect, including HIMARS provided by the United States, and other systems from our allies and partners,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday at the Pentagon. “Ukraine's defenders are pushing hard to hold Russia’s advances in the Donbas.”
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Ukrainians have been utilizing U.S.-supplied multiple rocket launchers to strike Russian command centers and supply routes, including a strategically significant bridge across the Dnieper River in the Kherson region.
Russian officials say the bridge was damaged but is still available to limited traffic. The Russian military would be hard-pressed to keep supplying its men in the region if the bridge were destroyed.
“The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of territory that they gain,” Milley said, and the Donbas is “not lost yet. The Ukrainians vow to continue the fight.”
The future, Milley remarked, will depend on the number of long-range rockets and ammo the Ukrainians have.
"We have a very serious grinding war of attrition going on in the Donbas. And unless there's a breakthrough on either side — which right now the analysts don't think is particularly likely in the near term — it will probably continue as a grinding war of attrition for a period of time until both sides see an alternative way out of this, perhaps through negotiation or something like that."
White House national security secretary John Kirby told reporters Tuesday that U.S. information suggested Russia is “laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory that it controls in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Kirby said the locations engaged in plans that Russia is evaluating include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and all of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.