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Russia Hits Southern Ukraine With Full Force Again

Russian forces struck at targets in the Mykolaiv area of southern Ukraine on Wednesday and intensified attacks on fronts across the country as NATO members met in Madrid to plan a course of action against the challenge from Moscow.

The mayor of Mykolaiv city said a Russian missile strike killed at least three people in a residential building there, while Moscow said its forces had hit what it called a training base for foreign mercenaries in the region.

In the east, the governor of Luhansk province said there was "fighting everywhere" in the battle around the hilltop city of Lysychansk, which Russian troops were trying to encircle.

The governor of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine said Russian shelling had increased there too in the past few days.

"Several villages have been wiped from the face of the earth," Kryvyi Rih governor Oleksander Vilkul said.

The stepped-up attacks took place as Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces make slow but inexorable progress in a conflict now in its fifth month, and followed a missile strike on a shopping mall that killed at least 18 people in central Ukraine on Monday.

Nonetheless, Western analysts say the Russians are taking heavy casualties and running through resources, while the prospect of more Western weapons supplies reaching Ukraine, including long-range missile systems, made Moscow's need to consolidate any gains more urgent.

Far from the fighting, leaders of NATO countries were meeting in the Spanish capital Madrid to thrash out policy in response to Russian actions, and also to any Chinese threat. read more

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said members of the military alliance would supply Ukraine with weapons for as long as necessary.

U.S President Joe Biden told the summit the United States was strengthening its forces in Europe based on threats from Russia.

NATO was also due to invite Sweden and Finland to become members, having overcome objections from Turkey.

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