The Kremlin expresses “extreme concern” over claims that a Ukrainian missile was shot down in Belarus

Russian forces shelled the entire frontline of the Donetsk region from Thursday night to Friday morning, according to the head of the regional military administration, while fighting continued in the eastern Ukrainian region.

Pavlo Kyrylenko said the towns of Vuhledar and Kurakhivska were among the settlements that were attacked. The town of Kostyantynivka, around 20 kilometers from the front, was hit by rocket fire on Thursday, damaging schools and a theater.

The Ukrainian military also reported artillery shelling of Maryinka and Avdiivka in Donetsk on Friday morning. Russian forces were said to be stepping up attacks around several settlements immediately west and north of the city of Donetsk, an area where front lines have changed little since the Russian invasion.

Much of the fiercest fighting of the war has raged around the key city of Bakhmut in Donetsk. Both sides have been engaged in brutal combat there since Russian forces began their earnest siege of the city in May.

An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oleksiy Arestovych, said Thursday that both Ukrainian and Russian forces were experiencing heavy troop losses in Bakhmut and the nearby town of Soledar, describing the fighting there as “very serious”.

Elsewhere: Russian forces attacked several parts of the eastern Luhansk region, where Ukrainian forces have made modest progress since September, according to the Ukrainian military.

In the north-eastern Sumy region, officials reported cross-border mortar fire, the aftermath of which was unclear.

And in the southern Zaporizhia region, authorities said nearly 20 settlements were shelled, some some distance from the front line, damaging homes and civilian infrastructure.

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