Attacks in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions leave 28 dead, Moscow-backed officials say

Russia-installed officials in the partially occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Luhansk said Ukrainian attacks left at least 28 people dead as Russia and Ukraine continued to exchange drone attacks overnight into Saturday.

A Ukrainian attack Friday on the small town of Sadove in Ukraine’s partially occupied Sadove region killed 22 and wounded 15 people, Moscow-backed governor Vladimir Saldo said.

Russian state news agency Tass cited Saldo as saying that Ukrainian forces first struck the town with a French-made guided bomb, then attacked again with a U.S.-supplied HIMARS missile. He said Ukrainian forces had “deliberately made a repeat strike to create greater numbers of casualties” when “residents of nearby houses ran out to help the injured”.

Further east, Leonid Pasechnik, the Russia-installed governor in Ukraine’s partially occupied Luhansk region, said Saturday that two more bodies had been pulled from the rubble following Friday’s Ukrainian missile attack on the regional capital, also called Luhansk. Russian state news agency Interfax cited regional authorities as saying this brought the death toll to six. Pasechnik also said 60 people were wounded in the attack.

Pasechnik declared Saturday a day of mourning in the region, with public events canceled.

Ukraine did not comment on either assault.

Meanwhile, drone attacks between Russia and Ukraine persisted.

Ukraine launched a barrage of drones across Russian territory overnight Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday. Twenty-five drones were reportedly destroyed over Russia’s southern Kuban and Astrakhan regions, the western Tula region, and the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula.

On Saturday morning, officials said air defenses for the first time shot down Ukrainian drones over the North Ossetia region in the North Caucasus, some 900 km (560 miles) east of the front line in Ukraine’s partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that one drone had been destroyed, whereas regional Gov. Sergei Menyailo reported three downed drones over the region. Menyailo said that the target was a military airfield.

Ukrainian air defense overnight shot down nine out of 13 Russian drones over the central Poltava region, southeastern Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions, and the Kharkiv region in the northeast, Ukraine’s air force said Saturday.

Dnipropetrovsk regional Gov. Serhiy Lysak said the overnight drone attack damaged commercial and residential buildings.

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