Russian shelling hits Ukraine’s south and east as Zelensky returns to Kyiv.

Even as President Volodymyr Zelensky returned to Kyiv energized by his warm welcome in the United States, the bloodshed continued on the ground, a reminder of the deep toll of a war that has no end in sight.

At least five civilians were killed and 18 injured in Russian attacks on Thursday and into Friday morning, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president’s offices, said Friday in a post on the Telegram messaging app. The attacks came in four regions in Ukraine’s south and east that Russia has illegally annexed but does not fully control.

Russian forces shelled the southern Kherson region 61 times over the past 24 hours with rocket, artillery and mortar attacks, hitting schools and residential buildings, Yaroslav Yanushevych, the head of the military administration in the Kherson Province, said on Telegram in a morning post. A later post said shelling near the city center of Kherson had killed two people, though the timing was not clear.

Last month, Russian troops withdrew from the city and since then have fired hundreds of shells at it from their new positions.

Russian shelling overnight struck a district hospital in the northeastern city of Volchansk, Kharkiv region, wounding five people, according to a post on Telegram from the local governor, Oleh Syniehubov. It was unclear whether Russia specifically targeted the hospital.

In the southeast, saboteurs struck in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol, where two people were injured in a car bombing, a Russian-backed official told Russia’s Tass news agency. The city’s exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, said on Telegram that one of those who was injured was a local police officer who was working with the Russians.

Ukraine has been stepping up efforts to isolate and degrade Russian forces in Melitopol, which lies at the crossroads of two major highways and a crucial rail line linking Russia to the Crimea Peninsula and other territory it occupies.

Earlier this month, the Kremlin-appointed deputy head of Melitopol survived an assassination attempt, part of a string of attacks on Moscow’s handpicked administrators in occupied Ukraine.

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