Ukraine said nine people, including four children, were wounded by Russian shelling in the southern city of Kherson as drones also targeted the capital Kyiv and the second-largest city Kharkiv.

"During the evening shelling of Kherson by the Russian occupiers, nine people were injured, four of them were children," said Roman Mrochko, head of Kherson, adding that the children were between two and 13 years old.

A mother and her three children were hospitalised but "their condition is moderate. They have contusions and… explosive injuries", Mrochko said on Telegram.

Several Iranian-made Shahed drones were also shot down by Ukrainian air defences as they headed toward Kyiv, according to the head of the capital's military administration, Serhii Popko.

According to the preliminary data of the operational summary, there were no victims or destruction in the capital," he wrote on Telegram, adding that the attack, the fifth on Kyiv in December, was staged from the Black Sea.

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Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov reported at least two strikes near residential buildings in his city.

The Ukraine air force said Kharkiv was hit with "two S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles" fired from Russia's Belgorod region.

No casualties have been reported so far.

It also said a "total 19 Shahed launches were recorded, 18 of which were destroyed within in the Odesa, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv, Chernigiv and Kirovograd regions".

Moscow has stepped up its nightly attacks on Ukrainian cities in recent weeks, at a time when the West's willingness to support the country seems to be waning.

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