A top official in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya has said that rockets fired by Russian forces overnight have killed at least 17 people.
Zaporizhzhya city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said on October 9 that five homes were destroyed and around 40 were damaged in the attack on the city in the Ukrainian-held part of the region, which was annexed by Russia in violation of international law last week.
Images posted on social media by Ukrainian military authorities in the Zaporizhzhya region showed significant damage to residential buildings in the regional capital.
Zaporizhzhya was also hit by major shelling on October 6, killing 11 people, and Moscow recently seized control of the nearby Zoporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Russian-held territory.
The fresh attack came after a key bridge to the Crimean Peninsula that was constructed by Russia following its seizure of the Ukrainian territory in 2014 and was a symbol of Russia’s control of the southern region, was heavily damaged on October 8.
After the apparent truck bombing took out one lane of the highway section of the Crimea Bridge and damaged the rail section, Moscow made changes to the command of its war effort in Ukraine and the security of key infrastructure in Crimea.
On October 8, Russia’s Defense Ministry named General Sergei Surovikin as the new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine who have suffered territorial losses in areas of the east and south of the country that were occupied shortly after the Russian invasion in February. Surovikin had led Russia’s Aerospace Forces since 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, issued a decree ordering the Federal Security Service (FSB) to take charge of security of the Crimea Bridge and other infrastructure on the Crimean Peninsula.
Ukrainian forces have continued to make gains in a weeks-long counteroffensive in the south and east that has led Russian forces to retreat in many areas. Ukraine has said it has liberated more than 770 square kilometers of territory once occupied by Russian forces.
Russian losses have continued after Moscow announced last month that it was annexing the Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk partially held by Russian forces.
Pro-Russian forces announced overnight on October 7-8 that they had retaken several villages near Bakhmut, in the eastern Donetsk region, in what was the first Russian territorial claim of a territorial gain since Ukraine’s counteroffensive was launched more than a month ago.
On October 8, Russia-imposed authorities in the Kherson region said they were facing “a difficult period” and authorized a partial evacuation in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.