Russian forces continued to bomb targets in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas, with the MoD suggesting such a move could be more common tactic in the conflict due to Russia’s “unwillingness to risk flying combat aircraft routinely beyond its own frontlines.”
In an update, the MoD said: “In the Chernihiv region north of Kyiv, approximately 3,500 buildings are estimated to have been destroyed or damaged during Russia’s abandoned advance towards the Ukrainian capital. 80% of the damage has been caused to residential buildings.
"The scale of this damage indicates Russia’s preparedness to use artillery against inhabited areas, with minimal regard to discrimination or proportionality.
"Russia has likely resorted to an increasing reliance on indiscriminate artillery bombardment due to a limited target acquisition capability, and an unwillingness to risk flying combat aircraft routinely beyond its own frontlines.”
The update added: “In the coming weeks, Russia is likely to continue to rely heavily on massed artillery strikes as it attempts to regain momentum in its advance in the Donbas.”
The eastern city of Sievierdonetsk came under heavy shelling that killed at least 10 people, said Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region.
The western Ukrainian city of Lviv was rocked by loud explosions early on Tuesday. Witnesses counted at least eight blasts accompanied by distant booms. An Associated Press team in Lviv, which was under an overnight curfew, said the sky west of the city was lit up by an orange glow.
Efforts were underway on Tuesday to rescue the last of the defenders inside the Azovstal steel plant in the ruined city of Mariupol after Ukrainian officials said the fighters had “completed their mission” and there was no way to free the plant by military means.
Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said more than 260 fighters, including some badly wounded, were evacuated from the plant on Monday and taken to areas under Russia’s control.
“The work to bring the guys home continues, and it requires delicacy and time,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.