Four killed by Russian shelling in Donetsk but Ukraine counter-offensive makes progress

At least four people have been killed and seven wounded by Russian shelling in Ukraine over the past 24 hours, according to the country's presidential office.

Most of the casualties were in the eastern Donetsk region, where three people were killed and four were wounded. A large chunk of Donetsk is held by Russia-allied separatists.

In the Kharkiv region, further north, three people were wounded when a rocket hit a residential building, the president's office said.

Russian shells struck more than a dozen residential buildings along with a school, cafes and stores as the war stretched into its seventh month.

At the same time, a counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces "is making verifiable progress in the south and the east" of the country, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said.

"The pace of the counter-offensive will likely change dramatically from day to day as Ukrainian forces work to starve the Russians of necessary supplies, disrupt their command and control, and weaken their morale even as counteroffensive ground assaults continue," the institute said late on Sunday.

However, Defence Specialist and Strategist Glen Grant told Forces News: "Rain is expected within a couple of weeks.

"Basically, if they don't actually break into Kherson, then this is just going to become a mudbath. At that point, you will not be able to take armoured vehicles off the road, because they'll just sink into the mud.

"That's not just because of the amount of rain, but because of the soil type, it's a soil type that likes sucking vehicles into it. In a way, they've got a deadline."

It predicted that Russian forces will launch "fierce artillery and air attacks" against the advancing Ukrainian troops and on any areas they liberate.

One of Ukraine's largest military units, the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, is being sent to new conflict hotspots, as a counter-offensive around Kharkiv has pushed Russian forces back towards the border, according to officials.

It was heavily involved in the Kharkiv military operation, and the battle of Izium to the south.