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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Russian missile attacks kill 21 in eastern and southern Ukraine

By Matthew Mpoke-Bigg and Victoria Kim

Missile strikes killed 21 people in the east and south of Ukraine over the previous 24 hours, a senior official said Saturday. The series of explosions shook towns and cities even as Ukraine made gains taking back its territory from Russian control.

The strikes killed 15 people in Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine, four in Zaporizhzhia province in the south and one in Sumy province in the northeast of the country, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on the Telegram messaging app. Tymoshenko said more than 20 other people had also been wounded.

In Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, the second largest city in the country, photos showed a red fireball lighting up the night sky, enveloped by a billowing cloud of dark smoke. Buildings, including a medical institution, were on fire, Kharkiv’s mayor, Igor Terekhov, wrote on Telegram. Tymoshenko said that six people had been injured there.

Missile strikes in cities and towns across southern Ukraine, including Zaporizhzhia, Nikopol and Berislav along the Dnieper River, have hit residential areas and turned apartment blocks to rubble.

The bombardments come as Moscow’s troops have been forced to retreat in parts of the country and appear to show the Russian military’s effort to use its advantage in long-range munitions to exact costs for its losses, according to Ukrainian officials and some military analysts.

But while the strikes have caused civilian deaths and damage to property, businesses and infrastructure, they appear to have done little to reverse Moscow’s territorial losses.

By contrast, Ukrainians have in recent months have largely used artillery supplied by the West to pinpoint Russian military infrastructure to impede Moscow’s capacity to resupply its forces.

Zelenskyy used a speech Saturday to appeal to the West for fresh weapons, using the attacks as a rationale.

“We see what kind of war Russia can make literally out of nothing,” he said. “Russia can block the sea for a country it wants to capture. It can burn cities and villages. It can arrange missile terror.”

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