At least 15 civilians were killed in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region by Russian shelling on Tuesday, regional governor Oleh Synegubov said in an online posting.
After weeks of relative calm, Russians have intensified shelling of the region.
Synegubov said six people had died in and around Kharkiv and another six in Chuhuiv, some 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, while three had died in Zolochiv, 40 km to the northwest of the city.
The incident comes as Russian forces captured territory along a frontline river in eastern Ukraine and intensified pressure on two key cities on Monday, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy predicted Moscow would escalate attacks ahead of an EU summit expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.
The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said the situation was “extremely difficult” along the entire frontline there as of Monday evening.
“The Russian army has accumulated sufficient amount of reserves to begin a large-scale offensive,” the governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said on Ukrainian television.