Deadly Russian artillery strikes hit Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities have said two people, including a teenage boy, have been killed in Russian artillery attacks.

Meanwhile, Russia reported it had shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet and destroyed a wave of drones over several regions.

The attacks came as Russia is gaining momentum on battlefield and Ukraine forces are running low on ammunition.

Ukraine’s allies in the West are delicately raising the prospect of sending troops. Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said deploying Nato troops to Ukraine “is not unthinkable”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last month that the idea should not be ruled out.

Serhiy Lysak, governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, said a 16-year-old boy was killed and a 22-year-old man injured in a morning artillery attack that hit the town of Chervonohryhorivka.

The town is on the opposite bank of the river from the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest, and the area is subject to almost-daily Russian attacks.

In the town of Chasiv Yar, one person was killed in artillery fire, according to authorities in the Donetsk region, much of which is under Russian control and where fighting has been heavy throughout the war, now in its third year.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces shot down 41 drones that were launched over the Rostov region, which borders Ukraine and is home to Russia’s southern military command, along with two drones over the Kursk region and three over Volgograd. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The ministry also said the air force had shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet over Pokrovsk, a city and important railway junction in the Donetsk region that is a prime Russian target following Ukrainian forces’ February withdrawal from Avdiivka, a significant setback for Ukraine’s struggling war effort.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, reported that Ukrainian drones attacked two villages near the border Saturday, but that no one was injured. The governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, did not specify damage from the attacks.

Despite its military setbacks, Ukraine resists suggestions of peace negotiations with Russia. During a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was willing to host a peace summit between Russia and Ukraine.

But Mr Zelensky remains firm on not engaging directly with Russia on peace talks and has said multiple times the initiative in peace negotiations must belong to the country which has been invaded.

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