Russian shelling has killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens at a market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka, officials said.
The number of dead in Wednesday’s attack was feared to rise.
The assault came as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited Ukraine’s capital, where he is expected to announce more than $1bn in new funding in a display of Washington’s unflagging support for Kyiv’s fight.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack, saying a market, shops and a pharmacy had been struck in the industrial city close to the battlefield, and about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the city of Bakhmut, where fighting has been heavy for months.
Ukrainian officials posted a video on the Telegram messaging app that showed a loud explosion ripping through shopping alleys, with people falling to the ground and some running for cover. Local media described it as a missile attack.
‘This Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible,’ Zelenskyy said.
‘When someone in the world still attempts to deal with anything Russian, it means turning a blind eye to this reality. The audacity of evil. The brazenness of wickedness. Utter inhumanity.
He later told a press conference in Kyiv that he believed it had been a deliberate attack on ‘a peaceful city’.