Seven killed in Ukrainian shelling as Russian forces claim control of Mariupol

Seven killed in Ukrainian shelling as Russian forces claim control of Mariupol

Several explosions in western and southern Ukraine have been reported by authorities, with seven killed in the city of Lviv, as Russian forces claimed full control of the strategic southern port of Mariupol after almost two months of bloody fighting.

According to Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy, 11 were wounded - including a child - with the blast shattered the windows of a hotel where Ukrainians were evacuated from elsewhere in the country.

Four rockets were fired, with three hitting warehouses and another hitting a car tyre depot, according to Lviv regional governor Maksym Kozystkiy.

After initially announcing the death toll at six, Mr Kozytsky later confirmed a seventh fatality, saying he believed the rockets were fired from aircraft from the direction of the Caspian Sea.

According to Suspilne, two people were wounded in a separate attack in the city of Dnipro.

The Russian military has refocused its ground offensive on Donbas, while the military has launched long-distance strikes at targets elsewhere, including the capital, Kyiv.

Four civilians were shot dead in a post on the messaging app Telegram, while attempting to escape by car from the town of Kreminna in the eastern Luhansk region during a Russian attack, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

A fourth person was seriously injured, he said.

In the past four days, eighteen people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in shelling in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Russia denies attacking civilians and rejects what Ukraine says is evidence of atrocities that have been staged to undermine peace talks.

It describes its action as a military operation to demilitarise Ukraine and eradicate what it calls dangerous nationalists.

The West and Kyiv accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of unprovoked aggression.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said troops in the pulverised port of Mariupol were still fighting on Monday despite Russian demands to surrender by dawn.

He told ABC America that Ukrainian soldiers continued to control some parts of the south-eastern city and the city still hasn't fallen.

On Saturday, Russia said it had control of urban areas, with some Ukrainian fighters remaining in the Azovstal steelworks overlooking the Sea of Azov.

Capture of Mariupol would be a strategic prize for Russia, as it would tie territory held by pro-Russian separatists to the Crimea region that Moscow annexed in 2014.

It would unite Russian forces on two of the main axes of the invasion, and free them up to join an expected new offensive against the main Ukrainian force in the east.

On the streets of Mariupol, small groups of bodies were lined up under colourful blankets, surrounded by shredded trees and scorched buildings.

Some people pushing bicycles picked up their way around destroyed tanks and civilian vehicles while Russian soldiers checked the documents of motorists.

One resident, Irina, was evacuating with a niece who had been wounded in the shelling.

She said that she has a daughter in DNR, referring to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

We might try to move there for the time being.

The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gaidai, repeated a plea for people to evacuate.

It may be the last time we have a chance to save you. There have been about four million Ukrainians who have fled the country, cities have been shattered and thousands have died since the start of the invasion on February 24.