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Kremlin expresses “extreme concern” over claim of Ukrainian missile downed in Belarus

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Russian forces shelled the entire frontline of the Donetsk region on Thursday night into Friday morning, according to the head of the regional military administration, as fighting in the eastern Ukrainian region grinds on.

Pavlo Kyrylenko said the towns of Vuhledar and Kurakhivska were among the settlements that came under attack. The city of Kostyantynivka, which is some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the front line, was hit by rocket fire on Thursday, damaging schools and a theater.

The Ukrainian military also reported artillery shelling of Maryinka and Avdiivka in Donetsk on Friday morning. It said Russian forces were intensifying their assaults around several settlements immediately to the west and north of Donetsk city, an area where the front lines have changed little since the Russian invasion.

Much of the war’s fiercest fighting has raged around the key Donetsk city of Bakhmut. Both sides have been locked in brutal battle there since Russian forces launched their siege on the city in earnest in May.

An adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Arestovych, said on Thursday that Ukrainian and Russian forces were both experiencing heavy troop losses in Bakhmut, and the nearby city of Soledar, describing the fighting there as “very serious.”

Elsewhere: Russian forces attacked several parts of the eastern Luhansk region, where Ukrainian forces have made modest gains since September, according to the Ukrainian military.

In the north-eastern region of Sumy, officials reported cross-border mortar fire, the consequences of which were unclear.

And in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, authorities said that nearly twenty settlements were shelled, several of them some distance from the front lines, damaging apartments and civilian infrastructure.

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