Responding to Ukraine's calls for more long-range precision weapons, the US last week said it would send more High Mobility Artillery Missile Systems (HIMARS) to Kiev as part of a new package weapons of 400 million dollars.

This appears to have prompted Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to suddenly visit the Yug and Center military units in Ukraine and order soldiers to immediately step up their attacks.

"Shoigu gave instructions to intensify the group's activities in all operational areas to exclude the possibility that the Kiev regime would launch massive attacks across Donbass and other regions," the Ministry of Defense announced.

Russian forces bombed the southern Ukrainian city of Nikopol on Saturday, the latest bombardment of urban areas, killing at least 37 people and wounding scores more in the past three days.

Ukrainian emergency services said two people were injured and two were trapped under the rubble in Nikopol, which is on the Dnieper River.

Russian missiles hit the city of Dnipro, about 120 kilometers north of Nikopol, late Friday, killing three people and wounding 15, provincial governor Valentin Reznichenko said on the Telegram communications platform.

The rockets hit an industrial plant and a nearby road, he said.

Russian forces also targeted the northeastern Ukrainian city of Chuguiv in the Kharkiv region overnight, killing three people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding three others, the provincial governor said.