Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in "all operational areas".
Exhausted firefighters searched on Tuesday for survivors in the rubble of a Ukrainian shopping mall, where authorities said 36 people were missing after a Russian missile strike that killed at least 18.
Ukrainian troops have "almost left" Sievierodonetsk after weeks of intense fighting against Russian forces, the mayor of the eastern city said on Saturday, signalling the biggest reversal for Ukraine since losing the port of Mariupol in May.
Ukraine acknowledged on Tuesday difficulties in fighting in its east as Russian forces regrouped after stepping up pressure and making advances on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week expected to welcome Kyiv's bid to join the bloc.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy predicted Russia will escalate its attacks this week as European Union leaders consider whether to back his country's bid to join the bloc and Russia presses its campaign to win control of east Ukraine.
Ukrainian defenders were fighting fiercely for "every metre" of Sievierodonetsk, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Russian forces destroyed a bridge to another city across the river, leaving stranded civilians with just one way out.
Russian forces fired cruise missiles to destroy a large depot containing US and European weapons in western Ukraine's Ternopil region, Interfax reported on Sunday, as street fighting raged in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk.
Kyiv's forces may have to retreat from the eastern city of Severodonetsk, a senior Ukrainian official conceded on Wednesday, as diplomatic efforts intensified to unblock grain stuck in Ukraine's ports.
Ukrainian troops holding out in the ruins of Sievierodonetsk came under renewed heavy assault on Wednesday from Russian forces who see the capture of the industrial city as key to control of the surrounding Luhansk region.
Ukrainian troops were engaged in fierce street fighting with Russian soldiers in the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, while other towns were under constant shelling, as the Kremlin pushed for control of the eastern Donbas region.
Russia struck Kyiv with missiles for the first time in more than a month, while President Vladimir Putin warned he would strike new targets in Ukraine if western nations supplied the country with longer-range missiles.