Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk are in the Luhansk region and Soledar is in the Donetsk region. Together they make up the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, which Russia says it is on a mission to “liberate.”
Moscow has focused most of its firepower on the Donbas after Ukraine pushed its troops back from Kyiv and Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv.
Russia struck Kyiv with missiles for the first time in more than a month on Sunday, with one person reported hospitalized. Dark smoke could be seen from many miles away after the attack on two outlying districts.
Ukraine said the strike hit a rail car repair works, while Moscow said it had destroyed tanks sent by Eastern European countries to Ukraine.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of the Ukrainian railway, confirmed four missiles had smashed into the Darnytsia rail car repair facility in eastern Kyiv, but said there was no military hardware at the site.
The strike was a reminder of war in Kyiv where normal life has largely returned since Russian forces were driven from its outskirts in March.
Ukraine said Russia had carried out the Kyiv strike using long-range air-launched missiles fired from heavy bombers as far away as the Caspian Sea.
Russia says the strikes are part of a campaign to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure and block Western arms shipments. President Vladimir Putin warned the United States on Sunday that Russia would strike new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.
Britain said on Monday it would supply Ukraine with multiple-launch rocket systems that can strike targets up to 50 miles away, a move that was coordinated with the United States in response to Russia’s invasion.
Heavy fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk and Russian forces are pushing towards Sloviansk, which lies about 5 miles to the west, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday.
Both sides say they have inflicted huge casualties in Sievierodonetsk.
In Lysychansk, Russian forces fired on a bakery and several administrative and residential buildings, Haidai said on Monday, adding one civilian had been wounded.
Evacuations resumed from the Ukrainian-held part of Luhansk province on Sunday, and 98 people had escaped, Haidai said.
The governor of Russia’s western Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said the border village of Tyotkino had come under fire from Ukraine on Monday morning that targeted a bridge and some businesses. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Ukraine’s military reported that its forces repelled seven attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Sunday, destroying four tanks and shooting down a combat helicopter.
It was not immediately possible to verify the battlefield reports.
A Russian state media journalist on Sunday said Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov had been killed in eastern Ukraine, adding to the string of high-ranking military casualties sustained by Moscow.