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Zelenskiy calls Russian shelling 'terrorist attacks'

Russian shelling has killed three civilians in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says, denouncing what he called "brutal terrorist attacks" by pro-Russian units.

Ukraine recaptured Kherson in November after almost eight months of occupation by Russian forces who seized it soon after the start of the large-scale invasion.

The area is now under almost constant bombardment from Russian forces on the opposite side of the Dnipro River.

One more person died in the eastern Donetsk region, regional officials said.

Zelenskiy said the three people killed in Kherson had gone to a store to buy groceries.

"I would like to support all our cities and communities that are subjected to brutal terrorist attacks," he said in a regular evening video address.

"The evil state uses a variety of weapons... to destroy life and leave nothing human behind. Ruins, debris, shell holes in the ground are a self-portrait of Russia."

Kherson regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said three people, including an elderly woman, were also wounded during the artillery shelling of the city.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, Donetsk regional governor, said one person was killed and at least three civilians were injured in the city of Kostyantynivka following several rounds of Russian shelling during the day.

Donetsk region has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 last year.

In the eastern city of Bakhmut, where pro-Moscow forces have been fighting for months, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Saturday more than 500 Russian troops were killed or wounded in fighting in a recent 24-hour period.

Both sides admit to significant losses and the exact numbers are difficult to verify.

Serhiy Cherevaty, a military spokesman for forces in the east, said the Russians had launched 16 attacks in a 24-hour period, with 23 clashes taking place in Bakhmut.

"Over the course of the fighting, 221 enemies were killed and 314 sustained injuries of various degrees," he told the national parliament's television channel.

It was not clear from Cherevaty's comments whether he was referring to casualties sustained on Friday or the most recent 24-hour period.

Reuters was not able to immediately verify the claim.

An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday Kyiv had decided to fight on in Bakhmut because the battle is grinding down Russia's best units.

Moscow says capturing Bakhmut would punch a hole in Ukrainian defences and be a step towards seizing all of the Donbas industrial region, a major target.

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February last year, tens of thousands have been killed, millions displaced and many Ukrainian cities and towns pulverised.