Russia-installed governor says Ukrainian forces kill 22 in small town

(Reuters) -The Russia-installed governor of Ukraine's southern region of Kherson accused Ukrainian forces on Friday of killing 22 people and wounding 15 in shelling of the small town of Sadove.

Governor Vladimir Saldo said Ukrainian forces had deliberately struck the area a second time, using a U.S.-supplied HIMARS missile to inflict the largest possible number of casualties.

Leonid Pasechnik, another Russia-installed governor in Luhansk, an occupied region northeastern Ukraine, said a Ukrainian strike had killed three people and wounded 35. Russia's Defence Ministry said Ukrainian forces had used U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles on the attack on the city of Luhansk.

There was no comment from Ukraine on either incident.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said both episodes "exposed the inhuman, Nazi essence" of Ukraine's authorities after the United States allowed Kyiv to use U.S.-supplied weapons on Russian targets in limited circumstances.

Zakharova earlier accused Ukraine of using HIMARS missiles to hit civilian targets in Russia's southern Belgorod region.

In Kherson, Saldo wrote on the Telegram messaging app that a shop packed with customers and staff was hit in Sadove, a town south of the regional centre of Kherson, which is held by Ukrainian troops.

He put the death toll at 22, with 15 injured, five of them in serious condition.

Russia's Tass news agency later quoted Saldo as telling journalists: "After the first strike, residents of nearby houses ran out to help the injured and within a short period of time a HIMARS missile struck. Two children are among the dead."

He said Ukrainian forces had "deliberately made a repeat strike to create greater numbers of casualties".

Russian troops quickly advanced into Kherson region during the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but Ukrainian forces recaptured swathes of the region later that year, including the regional centre of Kherson. Other areas remain in the hands of Russian forces.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of launching repeat strikes in one area -- or "double tap" -- to increase casualties, particularly among rescue squads.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Timothy Heritage and Diane Craft)