Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday there had been heavy casualties in Russian missile strikes far from the front lines, but on the ground Russian efforts to advance were being repulsed.
In the Chernihiv region north of Kyiv, Vyacheslav Chaus, head of the military administration, said the Russians "fired missiles at the village of Desna this morning. There are dead and many wounded."
It's unclear what the target was. Chaus gave no further details. Desna is some 40 miles (about 64 kilometers) from the border with Belarus.
Russian missile and artillery strikes have increased in several border areas recently as a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast gathers momentum.
In the northeastern Sumy region, the General Staff of the Ukrainian military said Tuesday that Russia had fired artillery across the border.
Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, head of the Sumy region military administration, said Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups had tried to cross the border. "There was a very serious battle. Mortars, grenade launchers, small arms were used," he said.
Russian officials also reported exchanges in the area. Roman Starovoit, governor of Russia's Kursk region, said that at dawn Tuesday, large-caliber weapons were fired at a border village and several houses were damaged. He said there were no casualties and Ukrainian border guards had fired back.
Along the front lines in Luhansk and Donetsk, Ukraine reports continuing efforts by Russian forces to advance in several areas but all claims were repelled. The General Staff said in the heavily contested area around Severodonetsk, the Russians had attacked the town of Syrotne but "suffered losses during the fighting and withdrew its forces."
But artillery fire and airstrikes continued.
The head of the Luhansk military administration, Serhii Hayday, said the Russians hit two hospital buildings and a production facility in Severodonetsk and there were also airstrikes in the Popasna area. Altogether, he said, 10 civilians were killed in the latest shelling.
The main hospital in Severodonetsk had been hit again, Hayday said, while airstrikes in villages further west had destroyed several homes. Video from the area shows large craters among heavily damaged houses.
Russian casualties: Vadym Denysenko, an adviser at the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, told Ukrainian television Tuesday that "enemy losses are numerous."
"The main events are now around Severodonetsk. The enemy is trying to make an operational encirclement," he said.
He also said overnight missile strikes in the far west of Ukraine had struck a district near Lviv, but provided no further details.