- The southern city is the latest target for long-range bombing
- Ukraine says about 40 people have been killed in bombing since Thursday
- Russia says it is stepping up its operations to protect the captured area
- Closing the agreement to lift the embargo on Ukrainian grain exports
- War casts a shadow over the G-20 meeting
Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian missiles hit a southern Ukrainian city on Saturday, the latest in a series of bombings that Ukraine says have killed dozens of people in recent days, while Moscow’s Defense Ministry said its forces had been ordered to bomb. Escalation of operations.
Emergency services said two people were killed in the southern city of Nikopol on the Dnipro River, after the region’s governor, Valentin Reznichenko, said it was hit by more than 50 Russian Grad missiles.
While the focus of the war, now in its fifth month, has shifted to the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, Russian forces have been hitting cities elsewhere in the country with rockets and missiles in what has become a growing conflict of attrition.
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A spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said, on Friday, that only 30% of the Russian strikes were aimed at military targets, while the rest fell on civilian sites. Reuters was unable to verify this assertion. Read more
Ukraine says about 40 people have been killed in such attacks on urban areas in the past three days.
Reznychenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, which includes the two cities, said in a Telegram that Russian missiles hit the city of Dnipro, about 120 kilometers north of Nikopol, late Friday evening, killing three people and wounding 15 others.
He added that the missiles hit an industrial factory and a street next to it. Video footage on social media showed thick black smoke rising from buildings and burning cars. Read more
The governor of the region said that a Russian raid hit the town of Chuhiv, northeast of the Kharkiv region, yesterday night, killing three people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding three others. Read more
Russia, which launched what it called its “special military operation” against Ukraine on February 24, saying it aims to root out what it called dangerous nationalists, it is using high-precision weapons to undermine Ukraine’s military infrastructure and protect its security.
Moscow accuses Ukraine of bombing its own people in an area it has lost control of in the east.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered military units to intensify their operations to prevent strikes on eastern Ukraine and other Russian-controlled areas.
She said that Shoigu “given the necessary instructions to increase the movement of groups in all areas of operation in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime launching massive missile and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbass and other regions.”
Ukraine says it has evacuated as many people as possible from areas captured by Russian forces in what it and the West have called an unjustified attempt to reoccupy a country liberated from Moscow’s rule with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian areas, despite mounting evidence that its missiles have hit residential areas across the country.
In one of the recent attacks that angered Ukraine and its Western allies, Kalibr cruise missiles launched by a Russian submarine into the Black Sea hit an office building in Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Kyiv, on Thursday. Read more
Kyiv said the strike killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens. Among the dead was Lisa, a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was found among the rubble next to a stroller. Soon, photos of her pushing the same stroller spread, which her mother posted on a blog less than two hours before the attack.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the strike on Vinnytsia was directed at a building where senior officials of the Ukrainian armed forces were meeting with foreign arms suppliers. Read more
Despite the bloodshed, both sides described progress toward a deal to lift a blockade restricting Ukraine’s grain export amid warnings that the conflict was putting millions globally at risk of starvation. The Turkish mediator said an agreement could be signed next week.
Asked if the timetable was realistic, a senior Ukrainian source told Reuters on Friday, “We really hope so. We are rushing in as fast as we can.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said an agreement was close, but Moscow’s negotiator warned that the grain deal would not lead to a resumption of peace talks.
The deal will likely include inspections of ships to ensure that Ukraine has not brought in weapons and guarantees from Western countries that Russian food exports are exempt from sanctions.
The war dominated the meeting of G-20 finance ministers in Indonesia. Two sources said the group was not likely to issue an official statement on Saturday. Russia is a member, as is the G7 industrial powers, along with China, India and South Africa, among others. Read more
Western sources said earlier this week that it would be difficult to agree on an official statement because the body was working on the basis of consensus and that Russia blocked wording on the cause of the global economic slowdown.
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Reporting by Reuters writing desks Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson; Editing by William Mallard and Francis Kerry
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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