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Russia has conducted a large-scale drone attack on the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. According to reports, 54 kamikaze drones were launched by Russia, out of which 52 were shot down by Ukraine’s Air Force. The attack resulted in the death of one person and injury to a woman when drone wreckage fell near a petrol station. Several high-rise buildings in different districts of Kyiv caught fire due to falling drone fragments, and warehouses in the Holosiyivsky district were also set ablaze.

Kyiv residents described their experiences during the attack, with one person mentioning being woken up by a drone flying close to her window and witnessing a series of bright flashes followed by loud explosions. Despite the terrifying situation, many residents expressed gratitude for the air defense and rescue services and emphasized the importance of cherishing every moment of life.

Some officials accused Russia of intentionally targeting Kyiv, particularly as the city was preparing to celebrate Kyiv Day. The attacks by Russia have been escalating, using kamikaze drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. Ukraine has been preparing for a counter-offensive, and one of its senior security officials stated that the country was ready to launch such an operation.

Both Russia and Ukraine have been engaging in drone attacks, with Russia targeting critical infrastructure and military targets. Ukraine has been retaliating by targeting key locations in the occupied regions of southeastern Ukraine. The frequency of military exchanges between both sides has been increasing as Ukraine prepares for its counter-offensive.

Russia’s ambassador to the UK warned about the escalation of the war, emphasizing that the supply of weapons to Ukraine could further escalate the conflict beyond the current levels. He expressed Russia’s desire to avoid such a scenario.

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A missile strike on a medical clinic in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro has resulted in the deaths of at least two people and left 23 others injured. Among the injured are two boys aged three and six. The regional governor, Serhiy Lysak, reported that 21 of the injured are in the hospital, with three in a serious condition. The strike is part of the escalating Russian attacks on Ukraine, which have increased in recent weeks ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shared a video on social media showing the damaged clinic, with firefighters and smoke visible in the footage. He condemned the attack, stating that it once again highlights the inhuman and dishonest nature of the Russian terrorists. The region experienced a “mass attack” involving missiles and drones, according to Governor Lysak. Dnipro, along with the eastern city of Kharkiv, was targeted, and an oil depot in the area was hit as well.

Ukrainian authorities claimed to have successfully intercepted and shot down 17 missiles and 31 drones launched from Russia overnight. The capital city, Kyiv, was also attacked, with intercepted drone fragments falling on the roof of a shopping center. Damage was caused to a house and several cars. In Russia, a blast occurred in the city of Krasnodar, east of Crimea, damaging a residential and office building. The governor of the region, Veniamin Kondratyev, attributed the blast to two Ukrainian drones, but no casualties were reported.

Another region affected by the attacks was Russia’s Belgorod region, which experienced over 130 strikes in the village of Kozinka. The governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, confirmed that one woman was injured. The Graivoron district, where an incursion from Ukrainian territory occurred earlier in the week, was particularly targeted in the attacks.

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Based on the information provided, the situation in Bakhmut, Ukraine, is uncertain and contradictory. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that Bakhmut is not occupied by Russia, but he also acknowledged that the city has been destroyed and its infrastructure severely damaged. He expressed his sorrow over the situation and mentioned that Bakhmut remains in the hearts of the Ukrainian people.

On the other hand, the Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed to have captured the city, with its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, appearing in a video alongside his fighters, asserting control over the entire city. Russian President Vladimir Putin also stated that Russia had won the battle for Bakhmut and that deserving troops would receive state awards.

However, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Operational Command reported that Ukraine still controlled several buildings in the south-west of Bakhmut and was preparing for a counterattack. He mentioned that Ukrainian forces were flanking Russian troops and creating conditions for a pushback.

The situation on the ground appears to be highly volatile, with conflicting reports from different sources. It is unclear whether Bakhmut is fully under Russian control or if Ukrainian forces still maintain a presence in parts of the city. The extent of the destruction and the number of casualties is also alarming, with reports of heavy losses on both sides.

Given the contradictory information and ongoing conflict, it is essential to rely on updated and verified sources for the most accurate and reliable information regarding the situation in Bakhmut.

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Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, has experienced its ninth aerial attack by Russia this month. One person has been killed and two others wounded in a missile strike on Odesa, a city located in the south-western region near the Black Sea. Explosions were also heard in other central regions, including Vinnitsa, Khmelnitsky, and Zhytomyr. Kyiv’s military administration reported that preliminary information indicated that all incoming missiles had been successfully destroyed.

This recent attack marks the ninth time Russia has launched airstrikes on Kyiv this month. On a previous occasion, Ukraine claimed to have shot down six Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in a particularly intense assault. Kyiv’s Mayor, Vitali Klitschko, announced that a fire had broken out in a garage in the Darnitsya area, but fortunately, no injuries were reported.

The head of Kyiv’s civilian military administration, Serhiy Popko, stated that a significant missile attack had been initiated by Russian strategic bombers flying over the Caspian Sea. Popko suggested that the attack likely involved cruise missiles and mentioned that Russia had deployed surveillance drones over Kyiv following the wave of airstrikes.

There were reports of additional fires in the Desnyansky district, located east of Kyiv, in a non-residential building. However, no updates were provided regarding any injuries resulting from this incident.

On Wednesday, at least eight people were reportedly killed, including a five-year-old boy near Kherson, with 17 others injured due to shelling. Both sides involved in the conflict have traded accusations of targeting civilian areas.

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Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has been subjected to further Russian air attacks, with one official describing them as “exceptional in density.” Ukraine claims that all 18 missiles were successfully shot down, and footage showed air defenses destroying targets over the city. However, Russia insists that its attack, which utilized drones and missiles, hit all its intended targets. Moscow has escalated its air campaign in recent weeks, anticipating an upcoming Ukrainian offensive.

The air raid alert was activated at around 02:30 local time and lasted for two hours. This marked the eighth attack on the capital this month. Residents heard an unusually high number of loud explosions, prompting authorities to inform them online about the activation of air defense systems.

Valerii Zaluzhny, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, stated that Russia attacked Kyiv from multiple directions, employing 18 air, sea, and land-based missiles. Serhiy Popko, head of the military administration in the Ukrainian capital, described the attack as the “maximum number of attack missiles in the shortest period of time.” Popko also mentioned that the majority of enemy targets in Kyiv’s airspace were detected and destroyed.

According to Gen Zaluzhny, the attack involved nine Kalibr cruise missiles launched from ships in the Black Sea, as well as three land-based missiles. Additionally, Kyiv successfully destroyed six Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, which can travel at speeds exceeding 11,000 km/h (7,000 mph). Russia has previously claimed that no air defense systems in the world can intercept these missiles. However, Ukraine claimed to have shot down a Kinzhal during a previous attack on Kyiv.

The arrival of modern Western defense systems, including Patriots, has enabled Ukraine to intercept these advanced missiles. Russia alleged that it destroyed a Patriot system during the attack on Kyiv, but these claims cannot be independently verified by the BBC.

Residents were advised to stay away from windows due to falling debris from intercepted missiles. Rocket fragments fell in various central districts of the city, including the zoo, but no injuries were reported among animals or workers. The Solomyansky district, which encompasses the international airport, was reportedly the most heavily affected.

Kyiv residents shared their experiences, with one describing the intensity of the attack as reminiscent of a Star Wars film or an action video game. Another resident mentioned that it was the first time his house had shaken from an assault since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ukraine believes that Russia’s renewed strikes on Kyiv are aimed at wearing down the highly effective air defense systems.

In recent days, President Volodymyr Zelensky has embarked on a European tour, securing promises of significant military equipment and support from Western allies such as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron. Since the invasion, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives, extensive destruction of cities and towns, and the displacement of millions of Ukrainians as refugees.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is currently on a visit to Rome, where he is scheduled to meet with political leaders and have an audience with Pope Francis. Zelensky expressed his anticipation for the visit, calling it an important step towards Ukraine’s victory.

The visit includes meetings with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella, followed by a visit to the Vatican on Saturday. In preparation for the visit, a significant security operation has been initiated, involving the deployment of over 1,000 police officers and the establishment of a no-fly zone over Rome.

Pope Francis has consistently expressed his willingness to act as a mediator in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Just a few weeks ago, he mentioned that the Vatican was working on a peace plan to end the war, although the details have not been made public yet.

The relationship between Ukraine and the Vatican has not always been smooth, as demonstrated by the Ukrainian ambassador’s rare criticism of the Pope in August. The ambassador took issue with the Pope referring to Darya Dugina, the daughter of a Russian ultra-nationalist, who was killed by a car bomb, as an “innocent” victim of war.

This meeting between President Zelensky and Pope Francis holds particular significance as it takes place in the context of Russia’s recent air strikes on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. The attacks caused injuries and damage to critical infrastructure, residential areas, and government buildings. In response, Ukrainian forces reported progress near the city of Bakhmut.

Explosions were also reported in the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk, with accusations that Kyiv used Storm Shadow missiles, which the UK claimed to have supplied to Ukraine earlier in the week. Further reports of blasts in Luhansk emerged on Saturday.

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There are conflicting reports about the situation on the front line of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Pro-Russia sources, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group fighting on the Russian side, claimed that regular Russian troops had abandoned positions around Bakhmut.

Russian military bloggers also reported Ukrainian advances and troop movements. However, the Kremlin denied that Ukraine had made any significant advances and stated that the situation was under control.

The Institute for the Study of War suggested that Ukrainian forces had likely made gains in the city of Bakhmut, pushing Russian troops back by approximately two kilometers. They also noted that the Russian defense ministry’s quick denial of the Ukrainian counterattacks, despite acknowledging them, indicated increased panic.

On Friday morning, the exiled mayor of Melitopol reported a large explosion in the city, which has been occupied by Russia since the start of the war. The cause of the blast is unknown. The Ukrainian air force conducted 14 strikes on Russian forces and military equipment, while also destroying nine Russian drones and attacking multiple military targets, including artillery units, an ammunition warehouse, and air defense equipment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that it was too early to launch a counteroffensive and that they needed more time. He expressed concern about the potential loss of many lives and emphasized the need to wait.

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A French journalist, 32-year-old Arman Soldin, was fatally struck by rocket fire while reporting in the war-torn region of eastern Ukraine. He was working for the AFP news agency and was killed near Chasiv Yar, just west of Bakhmut.

Soldin was part of a group of journalists accompanying Ukrainian soldiers when they came under attack at around 16:30 local time. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences and praised Soldin’s work on the front lines of the conflict. The chairman of AFP, Fabrice Fries, described the news agency as “devastated” by the journalist’s death, emphasizing the risks faced by journalists covering the Ukrainian conflict.

Soldin had been living in Ukraine since September, having joined the first AFP team to report from the country after Russia’s invasion in February of the previous year. Tributes were paid to Soldin in France’s National Assembly, and Ukraine’s defense ministry offered its condolences, acknowledging his dedication to uncovering the truth.

The Kremlin expressed sadness and called for an investigation into the circumstances of Soldin’s death. The White House also honored the journalist and acknowledged the sacrifices made by journalists exposing the realities of Russia’s invasion.

Soldin, who was born in Bosnia, is the 15th journalist to be killed while reporting on the Ukrainian war since February 2022, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Bakhmut has been a focal point of the conflict in eastern Ukraine for several months.

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Ukrainian officials claim that their air defences successfully shot down 15 Russian cruise missiles that were launched overnight towards the capital, Kyiv. No casualties were reported. Senior Kyiv military official, Serhiy Popko, believes that the missiles were launched by four bombers from the Caspian sea region.

The missile attack occurred just hours before Russia’s Victory Day holiday, which commemorates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has compared the Ukraine war to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine’s air force accused Russia of attempting to kill as many civilians as possible on Victory Day. The missile attack comes after Ukraine reported that Russia had launched its biggest drone attack of the war on Sunday night, killing one person and injuring five.

In Moscow, there is a sense of nervousness due to a series of recent explosions, drone attacks, and sabotage, including an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin, for which Moscow blamed Ukrainian drones, while Kyiv denied involvement.

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Zakhar Prilepin, a Russian writer known for his support of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, survived a car bombing that killed his friend Alexander Shubin. The bomb was placed under the passenger seat, but Prilepin was driving the car at the time.

He sustained injuries to both his legs but survived the blast, which he said occurred just after he had dropped off his daughter. Investigators claim that a suspect, Alexander Permyakov, has admitted working for Ukraine.

Prilepin, a veteran of Moscow’s wars in Chechnya, has become a strident supporter of the Ukraine invasion and has admitted to fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. He has also called for the “return of Kyiv to Russia” and has advocated for the “purge of the cultural space” of those who oppose the conflict.

The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) claims that a suspect, Alexander Permyakov, has been caught in a neighbouring village and has admitted to carrying out an assignment for the Ukrainian secret services.

A Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar group called Atesh claimed responsibility for the attack on Prilepin, but the BBC has been unable to verify their claims. The attack is the latest in a series targeting high-profile supporters of Russia’s war in Ukraine, including blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, activist Darya Trepova, and Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a close ally of President Putin.

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