Moscow has claimed to have destroyed a major Western weapons shipment meant to reinforce Ukraine's defence of the Donbas, as the Russian army intensified its attempts to seize the key eastern region.
The weapons were in transit near the Malin railway station, around 128km west of Kyiv, when they were hit by "high-precision long-range sea-based Kalibr missiles", according to the Russian ministry of defence. Elsewhere, Russia also claimed to have destroyed a Ukrainian special operations base in the Black Sea region of Odesa.
In another blow to Kyiv, Russia said that it had finally seized the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol, which had become a symbol of Ukraine's stoic defence.
The brutal three-month campaign in the city ended with the surrender of more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers.
The focus of the war is now in the Donbas region, a Russian-speaking area that has been partly controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014, where there is currently fierce fighting.
"They completely ruined Rubizhne, Vonokvakha, just as they did Mariupol," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said yesterday, adding that the Russians were "trying to do the same with Severodonetsk and many other cities".
In Severodonetsk, a front-line city now at risk of being encircled, 12 people were killed and another 40 wounded by Russian shelling, the regional governor said.
Zelenskyy said the bombardment was "brutal and absolutely pointless", as residents cowering in basements described an unending ordeal of terror.
The city forms part of the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, which along with the neighbouring region of Donetsk comprises the Donbas war zone.
The destroyed arms shipment was supposed to bolster Ukraine's defences against the Russian offensive there.
US President Joe Biden signed off another US$40 billion ($62b) aid package yesterday, but there are fears that other Western shipments could be targeted.
Since the outbreak of the war, Western countries have been supplying Kyiv with ever greater quantities of weapons, including artillery and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
The supplies have helped tipped the balance in Ukraine's favour as it takes on its far mightier neighbour. British and American anti-tank missiles have effectively crippled the Kremlin's tank advance.
But as Russian casualties mount, the country has made it clear that it considers such foreign supplies a legitimate target of war. Yesterday, the Russian defence ministry said: "High-precision, long-range, sea-based Kalibr missiles destroyed a large batch of weapons and military equipment near the Malin railway station in Zhytomyr region delivered from the United States and European countries."
They added that the weapons were bound for the Donbas region.
As fighting there intensifies, Ukrainians in the area are fleeing in droves, many after hanging on until the last moment.
Kristina, who did not give her surname, hid in the basement of her home for almost three months with her husband and 8-year-old son, only leaving after it was completely destroyed by Russian bombardment.
"We left five days ago because our house was smashed and we were left with three bags of things and that's it," she said."
"In general, I rarely cry, but at that moment when they broke our house, I was in shock... I don't understand. Why us? Why?"
The family managed to escape during a break from heavy artillery fire, sprinting from their destroyed home to an abandoned car, while praying that more bombs did not fall.
Even as her home was reduced to rubble, Kristina said she never showed her son any sign of the fear that gripped her.
"Even when there were flights, I said that everything was fine. I would say we're safe, don't worry."
The family is now in the Zaporizhzhya area but has "no idea" where to go next. Kristina says she is not only worried for herself, but for the family she left behind: both her and her husband's parents are too elderly to leave.
"I cried the whole way when we left, for our land, for our parents," she said.
Yesterday, Zelenskyy warned that only a diplomatic breakthrough rather than an outright military victory could end Russia's war on his country.
The conflict "will be bloody, there will be fighting but will only definitively end through diplomacy", he said, promising only that the result would be "fair" for Ukraine.
In an interview with Ukrainian television, he said Russia's treatment of the Azovstal fighters from Mariupol will be crucial for Kyiv's stance at future peace talks with Moscow.
Ukrainian officials have indicated that the men surrendered as part of a deal in which they would leave the plant safely and eventually return to government-controlled areas.