Missile strikes maintain hitting Ukraine regardless of prisoner swap


By HANNA ARHIROVA

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages that killed a minimum of seven individuals Thursday as each side refused to concede any floor regardless of latest navy setbacks for Moscow and the toll on the invaded nation after virtually seven months of conflict.

Russian missile strikes within the southern metropolis of Zaporizhzhia left one individual useless and 5 others wounded, Ukrainian officers stated. Officials within the separatist-controlled metropolis of Donetsk stated Ukrainian shelling killed a minimum of six individuals.

Demonstrating that neither facet was able to ease the preventing, the trade of fireplace got here hours after the 2 sides made a significant prisoner swap and the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin known as up reserve troops to complement his forces.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy of the Ukrainian president’s workplace, stated a resort in Zaporizhzhia was struck and rescuers had been making an attempt to free individuals trapped within the rubble.

The governor of the Zaporizhzhia area, Oleksandr Starukh, stated Russian forces had focused infrastructure amenities and in addition broken close by condo buildings. The area is certainly one of 4 the place officers put in by Moscow plan to carry referendums beginning Friday on changing into a part of Russia, however the metropolis itself is in Ukrainian palms.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the separatist-controlled metropolis of Donetsk, Alexei Kulemzin, stated a minimum of 5 individuals the place killed when Ukrainian shelling Thursday hit a coated market and a minibus. Overnight, one individual was killed throughout Russian shelling in Nikopol, throughout the river from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, in accordance with the Dnipropetrovsk regional governor.

Just hours earlier than Thursday’s assaults, the high-profile prisoner swap noticed 215 Ukrainian and international fighters exchanged — 200 of them for a single individual, an ally of Putin’s. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov wouldn’t verify if the lone Putin ally — pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition chief Viktor Medvedchuk — was a part of the swap.

Among the freed fighters had been Ukrainian defenders of a metal plant in Mariupol throughout an extended Russian siege and 10 foreigners, together with 5 British residents and two U.S. navy veterans, who had fought with Ukrainian forces.

A video on the BBC news web site Thursday confirmed two of the launched British males, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, talking inside a airplane. It stated that they had arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We just want to let everyone know that we’re now out of the danger zone and we’re on our way home to our families,” Aslin stated within the video, as Pinner added: “By the skin of our teeth.”

The velocity with which the Russian missile assault got here after the swap instructed that the Kremlin was searching for to dispel any notion of weak spot or waning dedication to attain its wartime goals following latest battlefield losses and setbacks that gravely undercut the aura of Russian navy may.

Those losses culminated Wednesday in Putin’s order for a partial mobilization of reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine. The order sparked uncommon protests in dozens of Russian cities and was derided within the West as an act of weak spot and desperation. Nearly 1,200 Russians had been arrested within the anti-war demonstrations, in accordance with the unbiased Russian human rights group OVD-Info.

Putin’s partial call-up was quick on particulars, elevating issues of a wider draft that despatched some Russians scrambling to purchase airplane tickets to flee the nation. One Russian man who arrived within the Armenian capital’s airport along with his 17-year-old son stated he had made plans for such a state of affairs.

Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, stated the mobilization was wanted as a result of Russia was “de facto facing all of NATO,” a reference to the navy help and different assist that alliance members given Ukraine.

Speaking in New York on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock praised Russian anti-war protesters and added that nobody contained in the nation can proceed turning a blind eye to what’s taking place in Ukraine as a result of “every Russian is now going to be at risk of being drafted into this war.”

A senior Kremlin official on Thursday repeated Putin’s risk to make use of nuclear weapons if Russian territory comes below assault.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, stated on his messaging app Thursday that strategic nuclear weapons are one of many choices to safeguard Russian-controlled territories in jap and southern Ukraine. The comment appeared to function a warning that Moscow might additionally goal Ukraine’s Western allies.

Pro-Moscow authorities in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied areas are getting ready to carry referendums on changing into a part of Russia — a transfer that might permit Moscow to escalate the conflict. The votes begin Friday within the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk areas.

Foreign leaders have known as the votes illegitimate and nonbinding. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated they had been a “sham” and “noise” to distract the general public.

Germany, in the meantime, stated Thursday it’s prepared to simply accept Russian navy deserters. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser informed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that anybody who “courageously opposes Putin’s regime and therefore puts himself in the greatest danger” can apply for asylum in Germany.

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Follow the AP’s protection of the conflict at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine



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