Kherson city in southern Ukraine continues to suffer daily bombardment by Russian artillery despite its liberation by Ukrainian forces.
The latest defence intelligence from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) reported that "on 24 November 2022 alone, 10 people were killed" and "on 27 November 2022, a recent high of 54 shelling incidents were reported in the area".
"The city is vulnerable because it remains in range of most of Russia's artillery systems, now firing from the east bank of the Dnipro River, from the rear of newly consolidated defensive lines," the MOD said.
The intelligence report added that "much of the damage is likely being inflicted in Kherson by Russia's use of multiple rocket launchers, principally BM-21 Grad systems".
Officials said on Sunday that shelling by Russian forces struck several areas in eastern and southern Ukraine overnight as utility crews continued efforts to restore power, water and heating following widespread strikes in recent weeks.
With persistent snow covering the capital, Kyiv, analysts predict that wintry weather – bringing with it frozen terrain and gruelling fighting conditions – could have an increasing impact on the direction of the conflict.
But, for the moment, both sides are being bogged down by heavy rain and muddy battlefield conditions in some areas, experts said.
Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges, former Commander of the US Army in Europe, told Forces News the weather in Ukraine will affect how vehicles move around the battlefield, as well as visibility – particularly affecting drones.
He also said it will affect both sides equally and it will come down to "which side can adapt to these restrictions the best".
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a think tank that has been closely monitoring developments in Ukraine, said reporting from both sides indicates that heavy rain and mud have had an impact – but wider freezing expected along the frontlines in coming days could play a role.
"It is unclear if either side is actively planning or preparing to resume major offensive or counter-offensive operations at that time, but the meteorological factors that have been hindering such operations will begin lifting," it said in a note published on Saturday.
ISW said Russian forces are digging in further east of the city of Kherson, from which they were expelled by Ukrainian forces more than two weeks ago, and continued "routine artillery fire" across the Dnipro River.
"Time is of the essence"
The top UN official in Ukraine said civilians continued to pour out of Kherson on Sunday.
"The level of destruction, the scope of the destruction, what's required in the city and in the oblast – it's massive," said UN resident co-ordinator Denise Brown.
UN teams were ferrying in supplies including food, water, shelter materials, medicines, and blankets and mattresses, according to the UN official.
"Time is of the essence, of course, before it becomes an absolute catastrophe," Ms Brown said.