Ukraine says heavy Russian casualties in Donetsk

STORY: Ukraine's President said on Monday hundreds of Russian soldiers are dying every day in Donetsk.

One of the epicenters of the fighting has been in the town of Avdiivka, where few buildings remain intact.

A local commander Maksym Morozov says they have repelled attacks from the Wagner Group - a Russian private militia, and defending the town becomes more of a challenge every day.

“The situation is extremely difficult. You can hear it for yourselves. There is constant fighting and combat. We have close combat, machine gun duels, as well as artillery duels. Our positions are constantly being bombarded, but the city is also under fire. Despite our heroic defense, the enemy has a definite advantage in numbers, in terms of soldiers and artillery.”

For civilians who remain in Avdiivka, life is difficult.

Explosions in the distance, and a ticking clock, are sounds that accompany 71-year-old Valentyna every day in her underground shelter.

She says, it’s horrible to live under constant shelling, under the terrifying howl and buzz of shells.

In nearby Bakhmut, where fighting has also been fierce, police continued to evacuate residents as shelling knocked out power and heating.

In the South, Ukraine accuses Russian soldiers of looting empty homes in Kherson disguising themselves in civilian clothes, while bolstering positions for possible street-to-street fights with Ukrainians.

Those claims couldn’t be independently verified.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a, 'special military operation' designed to demilitarize its neighbor.

Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to grab territory.

On Monday, Kyiv said it had seized control of stakes in five strategic enterprises, citing wartime laws, to aid its wartime effort.

Those firms include a top engine-maker, energy firms, producers for vehicles and electricity grid parts.

Some were controlled by oligarchs whose political power the Ukrainian president has long sought to curb.