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Russian strikes in east Ukraine kill 11

KYIV, January 8 ------ At least 11 people, including five children, were killed by a Russian missile strike on the eastern Ukraine town of Pokrovsk, the regional governor said, as the bombardments intensify. 


Since late December, there has been an increase in the number of strikes in both Ukraine and Russia, with particularly heavy casualties, as the war triggered by Russia's invasion in February 2022 nears the end of its second year. Despite the intensification, the front line has barely shifted. Eight people were also wounded when Russian forces hit the area with S-300 missiles. "The main blow was dealt to Pokrovsk and Rivne in the community of Myrnograd," the head of the Donetsk region, Vadim Filashkin, said on Telegram. He released photographs showing rescue workers working through the debris of the attack which damaged six houses in Pokrovsk and another in nearby Rivne. According to the emergency services the toll could rise with six people, including two children, believed to be under the rubble of one of the buildings. 


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced the attacks saying "the Russians just hit ordinary residential buildings, private houses." He assured that no Russian strike "will go without consequence."  


The town of Pokrovsk, which had a population of 60,000 before the war, had already been hit by a deadly bombardment last August, which left nine people dead and 82 injured. The town is around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the front line of the fighting. Elsewhere in Ukraine, one adult and two children were injured in shelling in the Kherson region in the south. One person was killed in Toretsk, near Bakhmut, and another was killed and two injured in Nikopol, in the east, according to the respective regional authorities. 


Escalation of strikes 

In the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, two people were killed by Ukrainian shelling in Makiivka and Gorlovka, an attack that also left several people injured, according to the local authorities installed by Moscow. Russia on Saturday also said its forces had shot down four Ukrainian missiles over Moscow-annexed Crimea overnight. The attack came a day after Russia said it repelled a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea, downing 36 of them over the peninsula. Kyiv said it had hit the Saki airbase in western Crimea. "Saki airfield! All targets have been shot!" Mykola Oleshchuk, Ukraine's air force commander, said on social media. Ukraine has targeted Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, since the start of Moscow's full-scale offensive. Russia also said that it had destroyed six Ukrainian Neptune naval missiles over the Black Sea. The number of strikes on both sides has multiplied in recent days, with Russia in particular bombing Ukrainian towns en masse on two occasions: on December 29, when 55 people were killed, and on Wednesday when six died. For its part, Ukraine has repeatedly targeted the Russian town of Belgorod, 50 kilometers from the border, including an unprecedented attack last Saturday that killed 25 people. Hundreds were also injured in these attacks. 




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