Air raid alerts were issued throughout Ukraine early on Friday and Interfax Ukraine news agency reported explosions in cities in widely separated regions, quoting local sources.
Interfax said explosions were reported after midnight in Dnipro, Kremenchuk and Poltava in central Ukraine and in Mykolaiv in the south and another online source reported an explosion in Kyiv region.
Interfax quoted regional Telegram accounts as saying unidentified airborne objects were headed for the west of the country.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that Russian troops tried to sever important supply routes into the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and thereby put more pressure on defending forces.
Russian units have been trying for 10 months to punch their way into the shattered remains of what was once a city of 70,000. Kyiv is pledging to defend Bakhmut, which Russia sees as a stepping stone to attack other cities. “But thanks to constant counter-battery combat … we can deliver supplies and evacuate our wounded.”
Russia’s Defence Ministry reported successes against Ukrainian positions in various sectors but made no direct reference to Bakhmut. Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleksander Musiyenko said districts were rapidly changing hands in fierce fighting.
“Ukraine is successfully conducting local counter-attacks, making it difficult for the Russians to capture Bakhmut,” Musiyenko told Ukrainian NV Radio.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which has spearheaded the Bakhmut campaign, said he had been joking earlier when he said his men would suspend artillery fire to allow Ukrainian forces to show the city to U.S. journalists.
Prigozhin, who has publicly lambasted Russia’s military establishment over its conduct of the war, is known for his combative style and ironic sense of humour.
Last month, after long complaining about shortages of supplies, Prigozhin said he and his men had been “blown away” by the fact that they had finally started to receive ammunition.
With inputs from agencies.