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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - KYIV: Russia launched an air attack on Kyiv early Thursday, killing at least three people including a child and bringing fresh terror to the city after a week of strikes.
Moscow’s forces have recently launched a series of aerial assaults on the Ukrainian capital, including an unusual daytime attack on Monday that sent residents running for shelter.
Thursday’s attack began around 3:00 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) when cruise and ballistic missiles were fired on the city, killing three people and injuring 12 others, officials said.
“In the Desnyanskyi district: three people died, including one child (born in 2012) and 10 people were injured, including one child,” the Kyiv City Military Administration wrote on Telegram.
“In the Dniprovskyi district: two people were injured.”
Previous official reports had said two children were killed in the strikes.
In Russia’s western Belgorod region, at least two people were wounded Thursday morning in an attack on the town of Shebekino blamed on Ukrainian troops, governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.
“This night is tense for Shebekino again. Ukrainian troops were shelling the city for an hour,” he said.
Gladkov previously reported shelling in the same town that injured four people.
On Tuesday, one person was killed and two others were wounded in a strike on a center for displaced people in the region. Several oil depots have also been hit in recent weeks.
The attacks have come as Kyiv says it is preparing for a major offensive against Moscow’s forces.
More than a year since its Ukraine invasion, Russia has suffered stepped-up attacks on its soil, including a drone attack on Moscow Tuesday.
“The situation is quite alarming,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russia said Wednesday it was evacuating hundreds of children from villages due to the intensifying attacks.
The first 300 evacuated children would be taken to Voronezh, a city about 250 kilometers further into Russia, Governor Gladkov said. Over 1,000 more children would be moved to other provinces in the coming days, he added.
A correspondent for state-run agency RIA Novosti working near Voronezh said buses had arrived with about 150 people on board.
The Kremlin has accused Ukraine — and its Western backers — of being behind the increasing number of reported attacks.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministry said the West was “pushing the Ukrainian leadership toward increasingly reckless acts” after a drone attack on residential areas of Moscow.
At least three buildings were lightly damaged, including two high-rise residential buildings in Moscow’s affluent southwest.
Ukraine, which has seen almost nightly attacks on its capital, denied any “direct involvement.”
Tensions between Russia and the West escalated further Wednesday, when Germany announced it would drastically reduce Moscow’s diplomatic presence on its soil in reply to a similar move from the Kremlin.
Berlin said it had ordered four of Russia’s five consulates in Germany to close.
The move comes after Moscow put a limit of 350 on the number of German government personnel allowed in Russia, a decision that Berlin says would force hundreds of civil servants and local employees to leave the country.
Moscow called Germany’s decision “ill-thought-out” and vowed a response.
And in the United States, the Pentagon announced a new $300 million arms package for Ukraine, including air defense systems and tens of millions of rounds of ammunition.
The United States said it did not support any attack inside Russia, instead providing Kyiv with equipment and training to reclaim its territory.
The fresh aid shipments would bring the total value of US security assistance to Ukraine to $37.6 billion since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, the Defense Department said.
Last week saw the biggest armed incursion into Russia from Ukraine since the offensive began, with two days of fighting in the Belgorod region.
AFP journalists went to the regional capital city, which is also called Belgorod, over the weekend.
Residents confessed a certain amount of worry, but a sense of fatalism prevailed.
“What can we do? We just shout ‘Oh! and ‘Ah!’. What will that change?” said 84-year-old Rimma Malieva, a retired teacher.
Most people AFP spoke to said they trusted the authorities to fix the weaknesses laid bare by the latest raid.
Evgeny Sheikin, a 41-year-old builder, still said “it should not have happened.”
At least five people were killed and 19 wounded in a nighttime bombardment in Ukraine’s Lugansk region, Russia-installed officials said Wednesday.
The Russian army also said it destroyed a Ukrainian navy warship, the Yuri Olefirenko, in Odesa, a claim AFP could not independently confirm.
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