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Ukraine news: Russian forces have resumed scattered attacks on Kyiv

KIEV, Ukraine – Russian forces have stepped up sporadic attacks in Kyiv, western Ukraine and after Saturday in an explosive reminder to Ukrainians and their Western backers that the entire country remains under threat despite Moscow turning its attention to a new offensive. in the East.

Drowned by the loss of its flagship in the Black Sea and outraged by the alleged Ukrainian aggression on Russian soil, the Russian military administration had warned of new rocket attacks on the Ukrainian capital. Officials in Moscow said they were targeting military bases, a claim repeated – and denied by witnesses – during the 52-day war.

The account goes much deeper. Every day brings new discoveries of civilians victims of an invasion that has shaken European security. As Russia prepared for the impending attack, a mother wept over the body of her 15-year-old son after rockets hit a residential area of ​​Kharkiv, a city in northeastern Ukraine. One baby and at least eight others were killed, officials said.

In the Kiev region, authorities said they had found the bodies of more than 900 civilians, most of them shot dead, since Russian troops withdrew two weeks ago. Smoke rose again from the capital in the early hours of Saturday, as Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported a strike that killed one person and injured several others.

The mayor advised residents who left the city earlier in the war not to return.

“We do not rule out further strikes in the capital,” Klitschko said. “If you have the opportunity to stay a little longer in cities where it is safer, do it.”

It was not immediately clear from the ground what hit the strike in the Darnytskyi district of Kiev. The large area at the southeastern tip of the capital contains a mix of Soviet-style apartment buildings, newer shopping malls and large retail stores, industrial areas and railway facilities.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the target was an armored factory. He did not specify where the plant was located, but there is one in the Darnytskyi area.

He said the plant was among several Ukrainian military sites hit by “high-precision long-range air weapons”. As the US and Europe send new weapons to Ukraine, the strategy could be aimed at thwarting Ukraine’s defense before what is expected to be a full-scale Russian offensive in the east.

It was the second strike in the Kiev region since the Russian military promised this week to intensify rocket attacks on the capital. Another bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

Kyiv was one of the many targets on Saturday. The office of the Ukrainian president reported rocket attacks and bombings in the last 24 hours in eight areas across the country.

The governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine – long considered a safe zone – reported airstrikes in the region by Russian Su-35 aircraft taking off from neighboring Belarus.

In apparent preparations for an attack on the east, the Russian army has intensified its bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, in recent days. Friday’s attack killed civilians and injured more than 50, the Ukrainian president’s office said.

On Saturday, a bomb blast believed to have been triggered by rockets sent emergency workers to a nearby market in Kharkov, according to AP reporters at the scene. One person was killed and at least 18 were injured, according to rescue workers.

“All the windows, all the furniture, all damaged. And the door too,” said resident Valentina Ulianova in surprise.

Austrian Chancellor Carl Nehammer, who met with Vladimir Putin last week in Moscow – the first European leader to do so since the invasion began on February 24 – said the Russian president was “in his own war logic” about Ukraine.

In an interview with NBC “Meet the Press”, Nehammer said that he believes that Putin believes that he is winning the war and “we have to look him in the eye and we have to deal with it, what we see in Ukraine.”

Nehamer also said he had seen Putin face to face with what he saw during a visit to the Kiev suburb of Bukha, where graphic evidence of Russian-occupied killings and torture emerged, and “was not a friendly conversation.”

In southeastern Ukraine, the battered southern port city of Mariupol is enduring, but the situation is critical, the Ukrainian president’s office said. Russian troops have been under siege since the first days of the invasion.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had been driven out of most of the city and remained only in the huge Azovstal steel plant.

The capture of Mariupol will allow Russian forces in the south, which came through the annexed Crimean peninsula, to fully connect with troops in the Donbas region, the eastern industrial heart of Ukraine.

The battle for control of Mariupol had costly consequences for trapped and hungry civilians. Locals said they saw Russian troops digging up corpses from residential yards and banning new burials. It was unclear why.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more Western weapons and a global embargo on Russian oil, accusing Russian troops of terrorizing civilians in the occupied cities.

“The occupiers believe that this will make it easier for them to control this area. But they are very wrong. They are making fun of themselves,” Zelensky said late Friday in his video overnight speech. “Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted – and will never be accepted – by the entire Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.”

He also warned in an interview with CNN that “all the countries of the world” should be prepared for the possibility of Putin regularly using nuclear weapons, an underlying fear from the start of the invasion.

Zelensky estimated that 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the war and that about 10,000 had been wounded. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced on Saturday that at least 200 children were killed and more than 360 were injured.

Russian forces have also captured about 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday. Ukraine holds about the same number of Russian troops as prisoners and intends to arrange an exchange but demands the “unconditional” release of civilians, Verestsuk said.

Russia’s warning of escalating attacks in Kyiv came after Russian authorities accused Ukraine on Thursday of injuring seven people and damaging about 100 homes in airstrikes in Bryansk, an area bordering Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have not confirmed targets in Russia. However, they claimed responsibility for the destruction of a key warship with missiles earlier this week.

Moskva sank on Thursday after severe damage. Russia has not acknowledged any attack, saying only that a fire had been fired at the ship.

The sinking reduced Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea and seemed to symbolize Moscow’s fortunes in an eight-week invasion widely seen as a historic blunder following Russia’s withdrawal from the Kiev region and much of northern Ukraine.

After the retreat, the corpses were abandoned on the streets of cities around Kyiv or temporarily buried. Andriy Nebytov, who heads the district police force, cited police figures showing that 95% had been killed by gunfire, saying they had “simply been executed in the streets”.

More bodies are being found every day under rubble and in mass graves, he added, with the largest number in Buha, over 350.

The diplomatic rift between Russia and the West deepened on Saturday as Moscow barred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a dozen other senior British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions.
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Chernov reported from Kharkov. Yesica Fisch in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Robert Burns in Washington, DC, and Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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