Drone Footage Shows Ukrainian Village Battered to Ruins as Residents Flee Russian Advance

KYIV, Ukraine  — The Ukrainian village of Ocheretyne has been battered by fighting, drone footage obtained by The Associated Press shows. The village has been a target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops have been advancing in the area, pounding Kyiv’s depleted, ammunition-deprived forces with artillery, drones and bombs. Ukraine’s military has acknowledged the Russians have gained a “foothold” in Ocheretyne, which had a population of about 3,000 before the war, but says that fighting continues.

Residents have scrambled to flee the village, among them a 98-year-old womanwho walked almost 10 kilometers (6 miles) alone last week, wearing a pair of slippers and supported by a cane, until she reached Ukrainian front lines.

Not a single person is seen in the footage, and no building in Ocheretyne appears to have been left untouched by the fighting. Most houses, apartment blocks and other buildings look damaged beyond repair, and many houses have been pummeled into piles of wood and bricks. A factory on the outskirts has also been badly damaged.

The footage also shows smoke billowing from several houses, and fires burning in at least two buildings.

Elsewhere, Russia has in recent weeks stepped up attacks on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in an attempt to pummel the region’s energy infrastructure and terrorize its 1.3 million residents.

Four people were wounded and a two-story civilian building was damaged and set ablaze overnight after Russian forces struck Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, with exploding drones, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said Saturday.

The four, including a 13-year-old, were hurt by falling debris, he said on the Telegram messaging app.

This drone footage obtained by The Associated Press shows the village of Ocheretyne, a target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military has acknowledged the Russians have gained a “foothold” in Ocheretyne, which had a population of about 3,000 before the war, but say fighting continues. No people could be seen in the footage, and no building in Ocheretyne appeared to have been left untouched by the fighting. (Kherson/Green via AP)

Russian state agency RIA reported Saturday that Moscow’s forces struck a drone warehouse in Kharkiv that had been used by Ukrainian troops overnight, citing Sergei Lebedev, described as a coordinator of local pro-Moscow guerrillas. His comments could not be independently verified.

Russian forces continued hitting Kharkiv and its surroundings on Saturday, according to updates posted by Syniehubov and other Ukrainian officials on the Telegram messenger app. One strike hit a civilian business in an industrial district of the city, wounding at least five people, Syniehubov said. A further attack killed a 49-year-old civilian outside his house in Slobozhanske, a village northeast of the city, the governor reported.

In the Black Sea port of Odesa, which has been repeatedly targeted in recent days, three people were hurt in a rocket attack on “civil infrastructure,” regional Gov. Oleh Kiper said.

Ukraine’s military said Russia launched a total of 13 Shahed drones at the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions of eastern Ukraine overnight, all of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Ukraine’s energy ministry on Saturday said the overnight strikes damaged an electrical substation in the Dnipropetrovsk region, briefly depriving households and businesses of power.

According to Serhii Lysak, the province’s governor, falling drone debris damaged critical infrastructure and three private houses, one of which caught fire. Two residents were hospitalized.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed early on Saturday that its forces overnight shot down four U.S.-provided long-range ATACMS missiles over the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The ministry did not provide further details.

Ukraine has recently begun using the missiles, provided secretly by the United States, to hit Russian-held areas, including a military airfield in Crimea and in another area east of the occupied city of Berdyansk, U.S. officials said last week.

Long sought by Ukrainian leaders, the new missiles give Ukraine nearly double the striking distance — up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) — than it had with the mid-range version of the weapons it received from the U.S. last October.

A Ukrainian drone also damaged telecommunications infrastructure on the outskirts of Belgorod, a Russian city some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Ukrainian border, according to the local governor. Vyacheslav Gladkov did not say what the site was used for.

Hours later, Gladkov reported that five people in Belgorod were hospitalized, with shrapnel wounds and other injuries, following a strong blast on Saturday that also damaged around 30 private homes and sparked two fires. He did not immediately clarify what caused the explosions.


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