UKRAINIAN missiles are said to have targeted Russian-occupied cities while Vladimir Putin’s humiliated troops are on the retreat in Bakhmut, the war’s longest and bloodiest battle.
The Russian-held city of Melitopol was left without power following an explosion, officials said.
They said technicians were working to restore the power supply in Mikrorayon, Khanda and Krasnaya Gorka.
The city’s former Ukrainian mayor Ivan Fedorov said the explosion was so strong that it impacted “eastern and northern districts of the city and even in the neighbouring villages.”
Meanwhile, two missiles reportedly hit an industrial complex in Russian-occupied Luhansk, around 60 miles behind the frontline.
Footage shared on social media showed huge columns of smoke above the city.
The strike comes a day after the UK announced it was sending long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed Britain will be sending Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 350 miles away, to give Ukraine “the best chance to defend themselves against Russia‘s continued brutality.”
It comes as Moscow has admitted for the first time that Putin’s forces had fallen back north of Ukraine‘s battlefield city of Bakhmut.
Kyiv said its forces advanced 2km (1.2 miles) in a week.
Russia‘s Defense Ministry said the troops have fallen back “to more advantageous defensive positions.”
Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Ukraine had launched an assault north of Bakhmut with more than 1,000 troops and up to 40 tanks.
The Russians had repelled 26 attacks but troops in one area had fallen back to regroup in more favourable positions near the Berkhivka reservoir northwest of Bakhmut, he said.
In response to the statement, the head of Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, said the situation “unfortunately, is called ‘a rout’ and not a regrouping”.
In another video message, he said the Ukrainians had seized high ground overlooking Bakhmut and opened the main highway leading into the city from the West.
“The loss of the Berkhivka reservoir – the loss of this territory they gave up – that’s 5 sq km, just today,” Prigozhin said.
“The enemy has completely freed up the Chasiv Yar-Bakhmut road which we had blocked. The enemy is now able to use this road, and secondly they have taken tactical high ground under which Bakhmut is located.”
Ukraine‘s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar confirmed in a statement on Telegram that Ukrainian forces gained ground around Bakhmut.
She said: “The enemy suffered great losses of manpower. Our defenders advanced 2km in the Bakhmut sector.
“We did not lose a single position in Bakhmut this week.”
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russians were “already internally ready for defeat”.
“They have already lost this war in their minds. We must put pressure on them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into their flight, their mistakes, their losses.”
Earlier today a Russian soldier was filmed pleading for his life after being followed by a Ukrainian drone in Bakhmut.
Russian soldiers were seen staging a humiliating retreat after being overwhelmed by Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade.