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WORLD NEWS | Ukraine: Russia attacks apartments and dormitories, kills civilians

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KYIV, March 22 (AP) – Russia stepped up missile and drone strikes in Ukraine on Wednesday that killed students and other civilians, a blow to a top diplomatic mission aimed at peace after 13 months of war. A violent follow-up to the duel.

“Russia is shelling the city in a savage, barbaric way,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegram thread, as video showed what he said were Russian missiles striking the southeastern city of Zha. A nine-storey apartment building on a busy road in Porozhia.

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“Households where ordinary people and children live have been shot.”

At least one person was killed in the attack shown in the Zaporizhzhia video, apparently recorded by CCTV cameras.

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Elsewhere, Moscow’s army fired drones that detonated before dawn, killing seven people in or near student dormitories near Kiev.

Ukrainian media showed flats charred and flames blazing across several floors of the building.

Two children were among the wounded, Anatolii Kurtiev, secretary of the Zaporozhye city council, said, adding that 25 people required hospital treatment, three of them in critical condition.

Zaporozhye is about 100 kilometers from Zaporozhye, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which was threatened during the war and has been closed for months.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the plant again lost backup external power.

The IAEA said its six reactors still needed electricity to cool the nuclear fuel and relied on only one primary source on Wednesday.

Russia denies targeting residential areas, despite daily artillery and rocket attacks on apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure.

Russian officials have blamed some of the deadliest apartment attacks on Ukraine’s air defenses, saying deploying them in residential areas puts civilians at risk.

Russia also sometimes claims that Ukraine hides military equipment and personnel in civilian buildings.

The war that Russia started on February 24, 2022 has moved in two main directions: the front line is mainly in eastern Ukraine, centered on the city of Bakhmut, and Russia regularly conducts missile and drone attacks across the country.

Additionally, although unconfirmed, Ukraine regularly conducts destructive attacks across the border into Russia.

The fighting on the frontline has been largely stalemate during the winter, and both sides are expected to launch major offensives in more favorable spring weather.

A drone attack damaged a high school and two dormitories in the city of Rzhyshchiv, south of the Ukrainian capital, earlier Wednesday, officials said.

It is unclear how many people were in the dormitory at the time.

The body of a 40-year-old man was dragged from the rubble on the first floor, according to regional police chief Andrii Nebytov, adding that more than 20 people had been taken to hospital.

The attack came as two dueling diplomatic missions were coming to an end. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left Kiev after meeting with Zelensky in a show of support for Ukraine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Moscow after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss his Beijing proposal, which was rejected by the West as unworkable.

There were no reports of progress toward peace.

The drone intercept and other Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure drew a harsh response from Zelensky.

“Over 20 Iranian killer drones, plus missiles, multiple shelling incidents, and this is just the last night of Russian terror attacks,” he tweeted in English.

“Every time someone tries to hear the word ‘peace’ in Moscow, another order is issued there against such criminal attacks.”

The Zaporozhye regional government said two missiles hit the apartment building, saying Russia aimed to “terrorize thousands of civilians in the city”.

“Zaporozhye is hell,” Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote on Telegram, adding: “There are no military installations nearby.”

Vladimir Rogov, a Moscow-appointed official in charge of the regional administration of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia region, claimed without providing evidence that a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile fired to intercept a Russian missile hit the apartment complex.

In other strikes, Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 16 of 21 drones launched by Russia, Ukraine’s General Staff said.

Eight planes were shot down near the capital, according to the city’s military administration.

Other drones struck the central-western Khmelnitsky province.

Also on Wednesday, Zelensky made another visit in a series of regular battlefield visits, meeting with soldiers and officers in eastern Donetsk, stopping at a hospital to see wounded soldiers and speaking to Bahmut Defenders of Bakhmut, a devastated city that has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, were awarded state medals.

Zelenskyy last visited the Bakhmut area in December.

Among other developments:

Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian military repelled a drone attack on the main port of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters city of Sevastopol, Moscow-appointed chief Mikhail Razvozaev reported.

He said the navy destroyed three floating drones, the Russian warship was not damaged and some civilian installations were damaged when the drone was hit and exploded. The explosion shattered windows of several buildings near the port. No injuries were reported. Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for the attack.

— Three people were injured when Russian missiles struck a monastery in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa on Tuesday night. Two of the four missiles were shot down, according to the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andrey Yermak.

— Ukraine’s finance ministry and the International Monetary Fund have agreed on a $15.6 billion loan program aimed at propping up the country’s economy crippled by the invasion. Ukrainian officials hope the deal with the IMF will encourage their allies to also provide financial support. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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