Updated May 5th, 2024 at 15:12 IST

Drone Footage Shows Ukrainian Village Battered to Ruins as Residents Flee Russian Advance

Ukraine’s military has acknowledged the Russians have gained a “foothold” in Ocheretyne, which had a population of about 3,000 before the war.

This drone footage obtained by The Associated Press shows the village of Ocheretyne, a target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. | Image:(Kherson/Green via AP)
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Kyiv: The Ukrainian village of Ocheretyne has been battered by fighting, drone footage obtained by The Associated Press shows. The village has been a target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops have been advancing in the area, pounding Kyiv’s depleted, ammunition-deprived forces with artillery, drones and bombs. Ukraine’s military has acknowledged the Russians have gained a “foothold” in Ocheretyne, which had a population of about 3,000 before the war, but says that fighting continues.

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Residents have scrambled to flee the village, among them a 98-year-old womanwho walked almost 10 kilometers (6 miles) alone last week, wearing a pair of slippers and supported by a cane, until she reached Ukrainian front lines.

Not a single person is seen in the footage, and no building in Ocheretyne appears to have been left untouched by the fighting. Most houses, apartment blocks and other buildings look damaged beyond repair, and many houses have been pummeled into piles of wood and bricks. A factory on the outskirts has also been badly damaged.

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The footage also shows smoke billowing from several houses, and fires burning in at least two buildings.

Elsewhere, Russia has in recent weeks stepped up attacks on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in an attempt to pummel the region’s energy infrastructure and terrorize its 1.3 million residents.

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Four people were wounded and a two-story civilian building was damaged and set ablaze overnight after Russian forces struck Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, with exploding drones, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said Saturday.

The four, including a 13-year-old, were hurt by falling debris, he said on the Telegram messaging app.

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Ukraine’s military said Russia launched a total of 13 Shahed drones at the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions of eastern Ukraine overnight, all of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Syniehubov said Russia also bombed Kharkiv on Friday, damaging residential buildings and sparking a fire. An 82-year-old woman died and two men were wounded.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed early on Saturday that its forces overnight shot down four U.S.-provided long-range ATACMS missiles over the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The ministry did not provide further details.

Ukraine has recently begun using the missiles, provided secretly by the United States, to hit Russian-held areas, including a military airfield in Crimea and in another area east of the occupied city of Berdyansk, U.S. officials said last week.

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Long sought by Ukrainian leaders, the new missiles give Ukraine nearly double the striking distance — up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) — than it had with the mid-range version of the weapons it received from the U.S. last October.

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Published May 4th, 2024 at 15:45 IST