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Russian forces continue to make “minor” advances in eastern Ukraine but are suffering from dwindling stockpiles of more accurate and modern weapons, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

In its latest update, the Defense Ministry said air and artillery strikes allowed Russian troops to advance around the town of Lysychansk.

Lysychansk and Severodonetsk have witnessed heavy fighting in recent weeks, but the Ukrainian resistance managed to block Russian forces in the southeastern district of the former, the defense ministry said.

The Ministry of Defense said: “Russian forces continue to make minor advances around Lysychansk, with air and artillery strikes continuing in the district.

“Ukrainian forces likely continue to block Russian forces in the southeastern outskirts of Lysychansk.

“Russia continues to employ air-launched anti-ship missiles in a secondary ground attack role, likely due to dwindling stockpiles of more accurate modern weapons.”

The report comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of a deliberate act of terror following a series of deadly strikes near Odessa.

Twenty-one people were killed as a result of the attack, including a 12-year-old boy.

Mr Zelensky said: “Three missiles hit an ordinary residential building, a nine-storey building in which no one hid weapons, military equipment or ammunition, as Russian propagandists and officials always say. about such strikes.

“It was a simple house, about 160 people. It was inhabited by ordinary people, civilians. The recreation center was also destroyed by this strike – an absolutely typical object for the bathing area.

“I insist that this is willful and deliberate Russian terror, not mistakes or an accidental missile strike.”

The British government has also condemned the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes, after two British men were captured by Russian forces and accused of being mercenaries in Ukraine.

Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill have been accused of carrying out ‘mercenary activities’, officials in the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic have said, according to state media Russian Tass.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is actively investigating and providing support to the families of the men.

A FCDO spokeswoman said: “We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war and civilians for political purposes and we have spoken about it with Russia.

“We are in constant contact with the Ukrainian government on their cases and fully support Ukraine in its efforts to free them.”