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Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine, Kharkiv endures heavy shelling

Smoke raises from an oil refinery in Lysychansk about 120km north of Donetsk, Ukraine, on April 16.
Smoke raises from an oil refinery in Lysychansk about 120km north of Donetsk, Ukraine, on April 16. (Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Both Ukrainian officials and the Russian Ministry of Defense have reported widespread military action in the east of Ukraine over the past 24 hours.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said Russian missile strikes against the town of Kramatorsk had destroyed at least eight residential buildings and educational and infrastructural facilities.

“Artillery shelling along the entire front line did not stop all night. The enemy fired most intensely in the Mariinka, Avdiivka, and Ocheretyne directions,” Kyrylenko said.

All three towns have suffered extensive bombardment in recent weeks but remain under Ukrainian control.

“No civilian casualties have been reported so far, but many houses have been damaged and electricity and gas supplies have been disrupted,” Kyrylenko said.

In neighboring Luhansk, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that on Sunday, Russian forces “fired mortars, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers at Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna, Lysychansk, Popasna, Hirske, and Zolote.”

“The enemy is deliberately targeting multi-storey and private households,” it added.

“Due to the shelling, 29 settlements remain without electricity, 38 settlements are without gas supply … There is no water supply in Rubizhne, Popasna.”

These cities and towns form a cluster of urban settlements that have been the Ukrainian front line for several weeks and have suffered extensive damage. Ukrainian officials estimate that 70% of Severodonetsk has been destroyed.

Despite the fighting, some evacuations have continued.

Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said 67 residents were rescued from Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Popasna, Lysychansk and Hirske.

“The security situation changes every hour. Where it was still safe in the morning, Russian shells are now exploding,” Haidai said.

For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Monday that Russian forces had launched precision air-launched missiles around Ukraine, claiming to have destroyed 16 Ukrainian military installations overnight.

The statement claimed Russian missiles hit five Ukrainian command posts, a fuel storage facility, three ammunition depots, and personnel and military equipment. Most of the targets were in or around Donbas.

CNN could not immediately verify those claims.

The authorities in the Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, which borders Donetsk, says territorial defense brigades “have been fighting in the whole length of the front line.”

The spokesperson of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, Col. Ivan Arefyev, said there had been Russian shelling of several villages just inside the Donetsk region, including Staromayorske and Makarivka. Several settlements inside Zaporizhzhia region had also been hit, he said.

“Russian troops are using tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry. In addition, they bombard the region’s settlements with aviation, GRAD multiple rocket launchers, small arms artillery, 120-mm mortars and large-caliber machine guns,” Arefyev said, adding that “counter-offensive operations with the support of aviation, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, mortars, armored personnel carriers” were underway.

According to a CNN analysis of the battlefields, most of the villages reportedly hit inside Zaporizhzhia had not previously been targeted.

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