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Ukraine: Russia hits apartments and dorm, killing civilians


KYIV, Ukraine, March 23 ----- Russia stepped up its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine, killing students and other civilians, in a violent follow-up to dueling high-level diplomatic missions aimed at bringing peace after 13 months of war.


At least one person was killed in the attack shown in the Zaporizhzhia video, apparently recorded by closed circuit TV cameras. Elsewhere, Moscow’s forces launched exploding drones before dawn, killing at least eight people in or near a student dormitory near Kyiv. Ukrainian media showed several angles of the missile raining down on an apartment building across the street from a shopping mall in Zaporizhzhia, producing a huge plume of gray and black smoke, with bits of concrete flying into the air as cars whizzed by. Videos showed the violent outcome of the attack: charred apartments, flames and smoke billowing out of several floors of the buildings, and piles of broken concrete and shards of glass on the ground.


Two children were among the wounded, said Zaporizhzhia City Council Secretary Anatolii Kurtiev, adding that 25 people needed hospital treatment, with three in critical condition. Russia has denied targeting residential areas even though artillery and rocket strikes hit apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure daily. Russian officials have blamed Ukrainian air defenses for some of the deadliest strikes on apartments, saying the deployment of air defense systems in residential areas puts civilians at risk.


The attacks occurred as dueling diplomatic missions were winding down. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left Kyiv after meeting Zelensky to support Ukraine. Chinese leader Xi Jinping left Moscow after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Beijing’s peace proposal, which the West has rejected as a non-starter. No progress toward peace was reported.


Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed regional administration for the Russian-occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region, claimed, without offering evidence, that a Ukrainian air defense missile launched to intercept a Russian missile had hit the apartment complex. In other attacks, Ukrainian air defenses downed 16 of the 21 drones that Russia launched, the Ukraine General Staff said. Eight were shot down near the capital, according to the city’s military administration. Other drones struck west-central Khmelnytskyi province.


Source: apnews.com

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