Ukraine war: Market hit as Russians shell frontline city Slovyansk

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The Slovyansk mayor posted this photo of the market blaze

Russian shelling set a central market ablaze in Ukraine’s eastern city of Slovyansk, killing two people and injuring seven, a top official said.

“I call on everyone: evacuate!” Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko tweeted.

Mayor Vadym Lyakh said Slovyansk was being hit by Russian artillery salvoes from closer positions, as it became a frontline city.

He posted photos of the blaze on Facebook, describing massive shelling, and urging people to stay in shelters.

Russia is seeking to control all of the eastern industrial Donbas area.

The area comprises the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and President Vladimir Putin claims it to be part of Russia.

On Monday, Ukraine’s military says it had to pull out of Lysychansk, its last remaining stronghold in Luhansk, under intense Russian fire.

It says its troops are now strengthening fortifications to defend areas it holds in Donetsk, including Slovyansk.

The BBC has not been able to verify details of the latest attacks.

In other developments:

  • In Russian-occupied southern Ukraine grain is being sent for export to the Middle East from the Zaporizhzhia region, Russian media report. Yevgeny Balitsky, a Moscow-appointed official, told Tass news agency that agreements had been reached with buyers in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He said a deal with Iran involved supplying 150,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain
  • A Turkish presidential adviser, Ilnur Cevik, told the BBC that Turkey may sell the grain carried in a Russian ship it detained over the weekend, and hand the proceeds to Kyiv, if proven to be Ukrainian. The Zhibek Zholy is carrying 7,000 tonnes of grain and had left Berdyansk, a Ukrainian port seized by Russia
  • The foreign ministers of Finland and Sweden launched the process for their countries to join Nato, at Nato’s Brussels headquarters. But the parliaments of all 30 members first have to ratify their accession, and Turkey is demanding the handover of more than 70 opposition exiles living in the Nordic countries. They are on a Turkish list of suspects with alleged “terrorist” links
  • The Russian parliament’s lower house, the Duma, has backed a draft law allowing for “special measures” in industry to support the Russian military in Ukraine. The state would be able to enforce longer working hours and impose contracts on certain enterprises linked to what Russia calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.
The central market fire in Slovyansk on Tuesday

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