Russia renewed attacks on the Ukrainian capital, attacking other cities

Authorities say more than 900 civilian bodies have been found in the Kiev area since Russian troops retreated two weeks ago. Smoke rose again from the capital early Saturday morning as Mayor Vitaly Klitschko announced a strike that killed one person and injured several others.

The mayor advised residents who had previously left the city during the war not to return.

“We do not rule out further strikes in the capital,” Klitschko said. “If you have the opportunity to stay in safe cities for a while, do it.”

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The sprawling area on the southeast edge of the capital is a mix of Soviet-style apartments, new shopping centers and large box retail outlets, industrial areas and railroads.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the attack targeted an armored vehicle plant. He did not specify where the factory was located, but there was one in the Dornitsky district.

He said the plant was also among several Ukrainian military bases attacked by “high-precision long-range weapons fired by the wind.” As the US and Europe send new weapons to Ukraine, this strategy could be aimed at preventing Ukraine’s security ahead of a full – scale Russian offensive in the east.

This is the second attack in the Kiev region since the Russian military vowed this week to step up missile strikes on the capital. Another hit the missile plant on Friday, residents came out on foot, foreign embassies were scheduled to reopen and other temporary signs of pre-war life began to emerge in the city following the failure of Russian troops to capture Kiev.

Kiev is one of many destinations on Saturday. The Ukrainian president’s office has announced that it has carried out missile strikes and shelling in eight regions across the country in the past 24 hours.

The governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine, who has only occasionally been affected by the violence of the war, announced airstrikes by Russian Su-35 aircraft departing from neighboring Belarus.

In apparent preparations for its attack in the east, the Russian military has recently intensified shelling on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Ukraine’s presidential office says Friday’s attack killed civilians and injured more than 50.

On Saturday, AP reporters at the scene said an explosion believed to have been caused by a missile had chased emergency workers near an outdoor market in Kharkiv. One person was killed and at least 18 were injured, according to rescue workers.

“All the windows, all the furniture, all the doors were destroyed.”

Nate Mook, a member of the World Central Kitchen NGO run by renowned chef Jose Andres, said in a tweet that four workers were injured in a missile attack in Kharkiv. Jose Andres tweeted that the staff was not nervous but safe.

Austrian President Carl Neummer, who met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week – the first European leader to do so since the invasion began on February 24 – has said that the Russian president is “on his own war logic” against Ukraine.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Nehammer said he believed Putin had won the war and that “we must look into his eyes and confront what we see in Ukraine.”

Nehmmer said he encountered Putin during a visit to the Kiev suburb of Pucha, where more than 350 bodies were found with evidence of killings and torture under Russian occupation.

In an interview with Ukrainian media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the continued siege of the southeastern city of Mariupol, which has come at a terrible cost to stranded and starving civilians, could thwart efforts to end the war.

“Destroying all of our comrades in Mariupol – what they are doing now – can put an end to any kind of negotiation,” he said.

The besieged port city has been detained, but the Ukrainian presidential office has previously said the situation is dangerous.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had been evacuated from most of the city and were confined to the large Azovstal steel plant.

If Mariupol is captured, Russian forces in the south, coming through the annexed Crimean Peninsula, will be allowed to fully integrate with troops in the Donbas region, the eastern industrial hub of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy estimates that between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian troops were killed and about 10,000 wounded in the war. The Office of the Attorney General of Ukraine said on Saturday that at least 200 children had been killed and more than 360 injured.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshuk said on Saturday that Russian forces had captured about 700 Ukrainian troops and more than 1,000 civilians. Ukraine holds the same number of Russian troops as prisoners and wants to arrange a transfer, but “demands the unconditional release of civilians,” Vareshchuk said.

Russia’s warning of attacks on Kiev comes after Russian officials blamed Ukraine on Thursday for airstrikes in the Bryansk region on the Ukrainian border that injured seven people and damaged about 100 residential buildings.

Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed the targets of the attack in Russia. However, earlier this week they claimed responsibility for the destruction of a major warship by missiles.

The Moscow ship sank on Thursday after suffering extensive damage. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack, but said the fire was caused by a shipwreck.

Russian Major General Vladimir Frolov, one of the men who besieged Mariupol, was buried Saturday in St. Petersburg after his troops died in battle, Governor Alexander Beklov said. Ukraine says several Russian generals and dozens of other high-ranking officials have been killed in the war.

The diplomatic rift between Russia and the West deepened on Saturday, with Moscow barring British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a dozen other UK officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis on Saturday called for “gestures of peace these days marked by the horrors of war” during an Easter awareness sermon in St. Peter’s Basilica attended by the mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melidopol and three members of the Ukrainian parliament. Francis did not directly mention Russia’s invasion, but called for an Easter ceasefire and peace.

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