Ukrainian forces have struck a headquarters of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, says the governor-in-exile of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
Serhiy Haidai said a hotel where the group met in Kadiivka, Luhansk, had been hit with major losses.
The BBC was unable to independently verify Wagner’s presence at the hotel.
Fighting also raged in southern Ukraine over the weekend, with Russia targeting Odesa and Ukraine bombarding a target in the occupied city of Melitopol.
Wagner are state-sponsored mercenaries who act in the Kremlin’s interests, according to Western experts.
The particular private military company, set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former restaurateur and close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly been accused associated with war crimes and human rights abuses.
Wagner units have previously been deployed in Crimea, Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.
In the Kadiivka strike, Mr Haidai said Russian federation had suffered “significant losses” and he expected “at least 50%” of the surviving forces to die due to a lack of medical treatment.
During a phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, US President Joe Biden said Washington was prioritising efforts to help boost Ukraine’s air defence systems.
The pair also spoke about Mr Zelensky’s desire for a “just peace” with Russia “based on fundamental principles enshrined in the UN Charter”, the White House said.
The attack on the particular “Wagner HQ”, in the east, came amid further fighting in southern Ukraine.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian army said it had shot down 10 drones, with another five hitting energy facilities inside the port city of Odesa – leaving some 1 . 5 million people without power.
“The situation within the Odesa region is usually very difficult, ” Chief executive Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “Unfortunately the hits were critical, so it takes more than just time to restore electricity. It doesn’t take hours, but a few days. ”
Key infrastructure was hit by Russia’s Iran-made drones, according to Ukrainian officials.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due in order to host an online meeting of G7 leaders on Monday, where further sanctions on Russia and Iran will be discussed.
The proposed measures would target Iran more than its supply of drones to Russia, while the particular ninth package of The ussr sanctions would place almost 200 more individuals upon an EU sanctions list.
In Melitopol, pro-Moscow authorities said an Ukrainian missile attack had killed two people and injured 10. Images shared by a Moscow-installed official there showed a big fire.
“Air defence systems destroyed two missiles, four reached their targets, ” Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russia-installed governor of the city, said on the Telegram messaging app.
He added that a “recreation centre” where people were dining had been destroyed in the attack, and that Ukrainian forces had used US-supplied Himars rocket launchers.
This weapon has played a key role in Ukraine’s counter-offensive, being used to target locations away from the frontlines, including Russia’s command posts.
Ivan Fedorov, Melitopol’s exiled mayor, stated scores of “invaders” have been killed.
Melitopol has been under occupation since early March and is a major logistics hub for the particular Russian forces in the south-east.
The particular city, in the Zaporizhzhia region, is strategically located between Mariupol to the particular east, Kherson and the Dnipro River to the west, and Crimea to the south.
Ukraine says its efforts to retake occupied territory are continuing, despite the arrival of winter.
In recent weeks, most of the particular fighting has taken place in the east of the country, especially around the city of Bakhmut in the particular Donetsk region.
But on Saturday night, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Zelensky, indicated that Melitopol could be a main target of Ukrainian causes.
“If Melitopol falls, the entire protection line all the way to Kherson collapses, inch he said in an interview.
If that happened, he added, “Ukrainian forces would gain a direct route to Crimea, ” the peninsula Russia annexed in 2014 and that the Ukrainians have vowed to retake.
Elsewhere, the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in far eastern Ukraine came under fresh bombardment on Sunday. Images showed firefighters attempting in order to put out a blaze at a commercial building.
Ukraine has denied attacking the separatist-run city on many occasions during the battle.