Russia steps up offensive in eastern Ukraine, child death toll rises

Russia's defense ministry says the country's forces have taken over two villages in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

The ministry announced on Sunday that the two villages are Spirne and Novooleksandrivka.

Ukraine's governor of Donetsk says a Russian attack on Saturday killed nine people and wounded 16 others in the region.

Moscow is said to be trying to take full control of Donetsk. Russian forces are expected to advance further.

As Russia steps up its offensive, the numbers of children killed and wounded in Ukraine are rising.

On Sunday, Ukrainian prosecutors said 554 children have died and more than 1,419 others have been wounded since Russia started its invasion of Ukraine. Five-hundred 50 of the wounded were in Donetsk, and 399 were in the Kharkiv region, also in eastern Ukraine.

The prosecutors say another Russian attack on the southern Zaporizhzhia region on Saturday left three children dead.