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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Amid broad retreat from Kyiv, Russia strikes Ukraine’s southern coast

Residents at a bombed apartment complex in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday evening as the area continues to come under attack.

By Austin Ramzy, Cora Engelbrecht and Jesús Jiménez

Russia attacked Ukraine’s southern coastline Sunday, hitting key infrastructure there as its forces have retreated from areas around the capital, Kyiv.

The retreat, which the Russian government has struggled to explain, comes after weeks of intense fighting around Kyiv and signals what appears to be a repositioning of Russian troops to expand on territory they have captured in the south. Still, fears remain that Russian forces could renew an assault on Kyiv, and fighting has continued elsewhere across the country.

The Black Sea port cities of Odesa and Mykolaiv were stuck by missiles Sunday. Britain’s ministry of defense said Sunday that intelligence showed that Russian naval forces have maintained a blockade of the Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, which is “preventing Ukrainian resupply by sea.”

The attacks on Ukraine’s southern coastline come as images showing the toll of Russian occupation in other areas have sparked global outrage. Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of executing some civilians before their retreat from areas around Kyiv. Footage posted by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and photographs from The New York Times and Agence France-Presse showed the bodies of men in civilian clothes on the streets of Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv. At least one image showed a corpse with bound hands. Russia’s Defense Ministry dismissed the photos in Bucha as “fake.”

Here are some other major developments:

— Amid reports of Russian atrocities in Ukraine, U.S. lawmakers called to send more aid to the country. Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said in a tweet that more European Union sanctions against Russia “are on their way.”

— Russia’s chief negotiator in peace talks, Vladimir Medinsky, rejected a Ukrainian counterpart’s suggestion that Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine could soon hold direct talks. Medinsky said the two sides remained far apart on the status of Crimea and the eastern Donbas region, both of which are claimed by Russia.

— Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the Ukrainian government was working with the International Committee of the Red Cross on another planned mass evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern city of Mariupol, after a convoy failed to reach the city for a third time Saturday.

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