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Russia resumes strikes against Kyiv after sinking its flagship in the Black Sea

Russian forces have accelerated scattered attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond on Saturday as an explosive reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the entire country remains under threat, despite Russia’s efforts to launch a new offensive in the east.

Horrified by the loss of its flagship in the Black Sea and outraged by the alleged Ukrainian aggression on Russian territory, the Russian military command has warned of renewed missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital. Officials in Moscow said they were heading for military sites, a statement that was repeated – and refuted by witnesses – during 52 days of war.

Trubchaninova mourns her son, who she said was shot dead the day before Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv. (Emilio Morenat / Associated Press)

But the fee goes much deeper. Every day brings new discoveries to civilian victims of an invasion that shattered European security. As Russia prepared for the expected offensive, a mother wept over her 15-year-old son’s body after rockets hit a residential area in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. One baby and at least eight others were killed in the attack, officials said.

Also Saturday, the mayor of Kyiv said one person had been killed and several injured in rocket attacks there.

Vitali Klitschko said medics caring for the wounded were at the scene of the reported attacks. “Kyiv was and remains the target of the aggressor,” he said.

Smoke rose early Saturday in eastern Kyiv when the mayor announced a strike in the city’s Darnytskyi district. He advised residents who had fled the city earlier in the war not to return for their own safety.

A woman examines the remains of her destroyed house in the Ukrainian village of Rusanov, east of Kyiv, on Saturday. (Genya Savilov / AFP / Getty Images)

“We do not rule out further strikes on the capital,” Klitschko said. “We can’t ban, we can only recommend. If you have the opportunity to stay a little longer in cities where it’s safer, do it.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Russian forces had attacked an armored car plant in Kyiv. He did not specify exactly where the plant is located in Kyiv, but there is one in the Darnytskyi district.

Konashenkov said the plant was among many Ukrainian military sites hit by “high-precision, long-range weapons.” As the United States and Europe send new weapons to Ukraine, the strategy could focus on cracking Ukraine’s defenses before what is expected to be a full-scale Russian attack in the east.

This was the second strike in the Kyiv region in two days. Another hit a rocket factory on Friday as incredible signs of pre-war life began to appear in the capital after Russian troops failed to take the city and withdrew to focus on eastern Ukraine.

In the Kyiv region alone, Ukrainian authorities said they had found the bodies of more than 900 civilians, most of them shot dead after Russian troops withdrew two weeks ago.

Firefighters are working to put out a fire at a shopping mall and surrounding buildings in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday after a Russian missile strike. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Kyiv was one of many targets on Saturday. The Ukrainian president’s office has reported rocket fire and shelling in the past 24 hours in eight regions across the country.

In eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv was hit by an explosion believed to have been caused by a rocket, firefighters and local journalists said.

The strike near an open market and residential and industrial buildings killed one person and injured at least 18, according to rescuers, who wished to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to provide the information.

“Upon arrival, it was found that the administrative building was on fire,” said Evshen Vasylenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s state emergency service.

“The area of ​​the fire is about 1,500 square meters. The blast caused partial damage to nearby buildings, including multi-storey residential buildings.”

WATCH Russia strikes Kyiv after a key warship sinks:

Russia strikes Kyiv after a key warship sinks

Russia has reacted angrily to the loss of its flagship navy, Moscow, and fired missiles at Kyiv after it sank. 2:23

“All the windows, all the furniture – destroyed. And the door, too, “says the stunned resident Valentina Ulyanova.

Elsewhere, long-range missiles were used to destroy a military repair facility at the Nikolaev Black Sea Shipyard, Interfax reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russia claims to control Mariupol’s steel production

Fighting continued in the shattered southern port city of Mariupol, where locals said they saw Russian soldiers dig up bodies on Friday.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that its forces had taken full control of the Ilyich steel and ironworks in Mariupol, one of the main remaining outposts of Ukrainian forces in the city. The report could not be confirmed.

If Moscow captures Mariupol, it will be the first major city to fall since Russian forces began their invasion on February 24. The capture of Mariupol will allow Russian forces in the south, which have risen across the annexed Crimean peninsula, to fully connect with troops in the Donbass region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heart.

The Russian army is constantly calling for additional units to storm the city, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Alexander Motuzyanik said at a briefing on Friday.

Ukrainians are waiting for a train to leave their country at the station in Lviv, in western Ukraine, on Friday. (Emilio Morenat / Associated Press)

The ongoing offensive follows Russia’s statement Friday that it will step up long-range strikes in retaliation for unspecified acts of “sabotage” and “terrorism”, hours after confirming the sinking of its flagship in the Black Sea “Moscow” in the Black Sea.

Kyiv and Washington say the ship was hit by Ukrainian missiles as a startling demonstration of Ukraine’s military success against a far better armed enemy. Moscow said the ship sank after a fire.

Belarusian planes strike Lviv

Explosions were heard in the early hours of Saturday in the western city of Lviv, local media reported.

The governor of the Lviv region – far from Russia’s border and an area long considered a relatively safe zone – said air strikes on the region from a Russian Su-35 plane that took off from neighboring Belarus on Saturday. Maxim Kozitsky did not provide details of possible casualties or damage.

Ukraine’s air defense system shot down four cruise missiles, Kozitsky said.

Authorities estimate between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CNN on Friday. He said about 10,000 were injured and it was “difficult to say how many will survive”.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Saturday that at least 200 children had been killed and more than 360 injured.

The UN Office of Human Rights said it had confirmed the deaths of 1982 civilians, but warned that the figure did not include people killed in blockaded cities such as Mariupol, and the actual number was almost certainly significantly higher.

Russia’s warning of intensified attacks on the capital came after Russian authorities accused Ukraine on Thursday of injuring seven people and damaging about 100 residential buildings by air strikes in Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed that any targets have been struck in Russia, and the reports cannot be independently verified.

Russia bans Johnson and other British politicians

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that it had banned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Minister Liz Truss, Defense Minister Ben Wallace and 10 other members of the British government and politicians from entering the country.

The move was made “in view of the unprecedented hostility of the British government, in particular the imposition of sanctions against senior Russian officials,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it would soon expand the list.

The Kremlin has described Johnson, one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters, as “the most active participant in the race for anti-Russian sentiment.”

WATCH Russia’s relentless repression of anti-war dissent:

Russia’s relentless repression of anti-war dissent

Russia is becoming increasingly ruthless in suppressing anti-war dissent with more arrests, police raiding public events and even arresting people just to talk to foreign media. 2:28

One week ago, Johnson visited Kyiv, where he and the Ukrainian president praised each other for their co-operation after Russia’s invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation.”

“The United Kingdom and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s condemnation of Ukraine and calling on the Kremlin to end the war,” a British government spokesman said in response to Moscow’s decision to ban Johnson and other British politicians.

“We remain determined to support Ukraine,” the spokesman said.