Warning: This story contains an image of a dead body.
Russian shells pummelled the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Saturday, killing seven people and injuring 58 more in the city that Moscow’s forces were forced to abandon last month.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, just back from his quick trip to Washington, posted photos of the wreckage on his social media accounts. He noted the destruction came as Ukrainians were beginning Christmas celebrations that for many Orthodox Christians will culminate in the traditional celebration Jan. 7.
“This is not sensitive content — it’s the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy tweeted. The images showed cars on fire, bodies on the street and building windows blown out.
“It is terror, it is killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure,” he wrote.
The deputy head of the presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said seven people were killed in the shelling of Kherson on Saturday and 58 were injured, at least 16 of them seriously.
Saturday marks 10 months since the start of the Russian invasion.
Ukraine has faced a blistering onslaught of Russian artillery fire, missiles, shelling and drone attacks since early October, much of it targeting energy infrastructure in a bid to cut electricity and heating services as the freezing winter advances.
The shelling has been especially intense in Kherson since Russian forces withdrew and Ukraine’s army reclaimed the southern city in November.
More U.S. military aid on the way
Earlier Saturday, the Donetsk regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said two people were killed and five wounded in shelling there over the past day. The deaths were in Kurakhove, a town of about 20,000 that is 30 kilometres west of Russian-controlled Donetsk city.
About 60 shells in total hit three communities during the night in the area of Nikopol, said the Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.
Stepne, a settlement on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhia, was also hit by shelling but there were no details on casualties, according to the governor, Oleksander Starukh.
Meanwhile, Kyiv was still recovering from Monday’s wave of missile strikes, which knocked out half the city’s power supply well into the next day, according to Ukraine’s prime minister.
On Friday evening, the CEO of a major energy provider said that Kyiv’s west bank area, which holds the city centre and most major government buildings, was still seriously affected.
Zelenskyy has returned to Kyiv following his trip to Washington, in which he secured another $1.8-billion US military aid package.
On Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the war would end at the negotiating table once the “special military operation” achieves Russia’s goals.
He said no reported Ukrainian peace plan can succeed without taking into account “the realities of today that can’t be ignored” — a reference to Moscow’s demand that Ukraine recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed in 2014, as well as other territorial gains.