Ukraine reports striking Russian ammunition depot in south

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday reported destroying a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine, resulting in a massive explosion captured on social media, while rescuers said the death toll from a weekend Russian strike in the country's east grew to 45.

An overnight rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, the Ukrainian military's southern command said. Nova Kakhovka is about 55 kilometers (35 miles) east of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces.

The precision of the strike suggested Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. Ukraine indicated in recent days that it might launch a counteroffensive to reclaim territory in the south as Russia bombards the eastern Donbas region.

Russia's Tass news agency offered a different account of the blast in Nova Kakhovka, saying that a mineral fertilizer storage facility exploded and that a market, hospital and houses were damaged. Some of the ingredients in fertilizer can be used for ammunition.

A satellite photo taken Tuesday and analyzed by The Associated Press showed significant damage. A huge crater gaped precisely where a large warehouse-like structure once stood.

Ukraine now has eight of the HIMAR systems, a truck-mounted missile launcher with high accuracy, and Washington has promised to send four more.

Explosions were reported late Tuesday in Luhansk, a city in the Donbas that has been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014, with videos posted on social media. A spokesman for the separatist forces, Andrei Marochko, said the Ukrainian army had dealt a "massive blow" to the air defense system in Luhansk, the Russian news agency...

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