KYIV, May 2 — Eight civilians died on Sunday following Russian shelling attacks in Donetsk and Kharkiv, the regions’ governors said, as Moscow’s forces push deeper into eastern Ukraine.

The deaths came as the Russian army refocuses its efforts on eastern Ukraine, notably the Donbas region, which incorporates Donetsk and Lugansk. 

Four were killed in shelling in the town of Lyman in Donetsk, the regional governor said.

“On May 1, four civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region, all in Lyman. Eleven other people were injured,” governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram. 

Another person had died of his injuries in a town near Lyman, he added.

Lyman, a former railway hub known as the “red town” for its redbrick industrial buildings, is expected to be one of the next places to fall to the Russian army after Ukrainian forces withdrew.

Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces appeared to have made notable advances around the town, advancing on their positions by several kilometres, an AFP team in the area said.

Another three people were killed in shelling on residential areas in and around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, the regional governor Oleg Synegubov said on Telegram. 

“As a result of these shellings, unfortunately, three people were killed and eight civilians were injured.”

The Ukrainian army has also withdrawn from Kharkiv, its troops now in outlying positions, according to AFP journalists who recently visited the city. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky recently acknowledged that the situation was “difficult” in Donbas, the eastern Ukrainian mining basin that has become the priority target of Russian troops, who invaded Ukraine on 24 February. — AFP