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Ukraine says scores of Russians killed in Kherson fighting

On Saturday (30 July), the Ukrainian military claimed that it had killed scores Russian soldiers and destroyed two ammunition dumps during fighting in the Kherson area. This region is the focal point of Kyiv’s counter-offensive to the south and a crucial link in Moscow’s supply lines.

According to the military’s southern command, rail traffic from Kherson to Kherson over Dnipro River was cut. This could further isolate Russian forces west of river and supplies in occupied Crimea or the east.

Three bridges crossing the Dnipro were severely damaged by Ukraine’s long-range missile system.

“As a consequence of fire establishing control on the main transport links within occupied territory it has been established traffic over the rail bridge crossing Dnipro is impossible,” said the southern command of Ukraine.

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According to the Russians, more than 100 soldiers and seven tanks were killed in fighting in the Kherson region on Friday. This was the first major city captured by them since their 24 February invasion.

Yuri Sobolevsky was the first deputy head of Kherson’s regional council. He advised residents to avoid Russian ammunition dumps.

Telegram: “The Ukrainian army is putting it on against Russians, and this is just the beginning,” he wrote.

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Dmytro Andriy, the pro-Ukrainian governor in Kherson region, stated that Berislav was especially hard hit. Berislav lies across the river to the northwest of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Powerplant.

He wrote that “in some villages, not one home has been left intact; all infrastructure has been destroyed; people are living in basements” on Telegram.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Earlier this week, officials of the Russian-appointed administration in the Kherson region rejected Western and Ukrainian assessments.

Explosion in prison

On Friday, the two sides traded accusations over a missile attack or explosion that appeared to have killed dozens more Ukrainian prisoners of war from eastern Donetsk.

According to Russia’s defense ministry, forty prisoners were killed and another 75 injured at the Olenivka prison held by Moscow-backed separatists. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths at the prison.

The separatist spokesperson claimed that 53 people had died and that Kyiv was accused of attacking the prison using U.S.-made HIMARS missiles.

The armed forces of Ukraine denied any responsibility and claimed that Russian artillery had attacked the prison in order to cover the treatment of the prisoners. Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister, said Russia had committed war crimes and demanded international condemnation.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the different versions of events.

Reuters TV displayed the remains of a burned-out cavernous building, filled with metal beds and charred bodies. Others were positioned on military stretchers or the ground.

The shell fragments were laid on a bench made of blue metal. It was difficult to immediately detect any identifying marks and it wasn’t clear where the fragments were taken.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), stated that it was seeking access to the site, and offered to evacuate the injured.

Russia has been accused by Ukraine of atrocities against civilians and brutality since its invasion. It has claimed that it has already identified over 10,000 war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians.

The top diplomats from the United States of Russia and the United States discussed Friday a U.N.-brokered agreement to resume shipping grain from Ukraine and alleviate a global food crisis. This was their first telephone conversation since the invasion of Russia by its neighbor on February 24.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Washington had not kept its promises about food sanctions exemptions to the U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken.

According to a Russian foreign ministry account, Lavrov told Blinken that Russia would accomplish all its goals in the “special military operation”. He also said that Western arms supplies would not be able to stop the conflict.

Blinken warned Lavrov of any Russian territorial claims in the course of its war in Ukraine.

“The world won’t recognize annexations.” He said that Russia will be subject to significant additional costs if it continues with its plans.

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