President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to defend the city of Bakhmut "for as long as we can," while hosting European Union chiefs in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday.
Nearly a year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bakhmut has become the epicentre of fighting and Moscow's forces have made small territorial gains in the region in recent weeks at the cost of heavy losses.
'Start to end the occupation of Donbass'
"No one will abandon Bakhmut (...) We will fight for as long as we can," Zelenskyy said after a summit with senior European officials. He called the city a "fortress".
"If (Western) arms deliveries to Kyiv accelerate, especially long-range weapons, not only will we not retreat from Bakhmut, (but) we will start to end the occupation of Donbass," a partly Russian-held eastern region, he added.
Authorities say some 6,500 people remain in the city, which had some 70,000 before the war.
On Thursday, one person was killed and seven were wounded in an attack on a vehicle carrying volunteer rescue workers, according to local authorities.
Oleksander Tkatchenko, 65, said he and other neighbours rushed to pull a woman from the carcass of the vehicle. It was "clearly not a military target as the car was red", he said.
The shelling also continued in Kherson, a large southern city captured and then abandoned by the Russians, where one person was killed and one wounded on Friday, according to authorities.
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