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Russian missiles target Kyiv after month of safety in Ukraine capital

Russian missiles target Kyiv after month of safety in Ukraine capital
Smoke rises from a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday as Russian missiles targeted the Ukraine capital for the first time since April 29. Photo by Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA-EFE

June 5 (UPI) -- Russian missiles on Sunday targeted the Ukraine capital Kyiv for the first time since April 29.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said in a statement that explosions targeting infrastructure in the Darnitsky and Dniprovsk districts of the capital left one victim hospitalized.

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"Russian aggressor continues to launch missile and air strikes on military and civilian infrastructure in our country, in particular in Kyiv," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in an operational update.

At least five missiles hit the city as air-raid alarms went off, The New York Times reported citing local news outlets.

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Russian forces surrounding the city retreated in late March to shift the scope of the war to the Donbas region in the east with the last missile strike in Kyiv occurring during a visit by the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement to Telegram that Russian forces used "high-precision, long-range air-based missiles" to hit a railway car repair workshop outside Kyiv.

Russia claimed that it had destroyed an unspecified number of T-72 tanks and other armored vehicles delivered by Eastern European nations.

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In its statement, the Russian Defense Ministry also claimed that such missiles were also launched at the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, which serves as the provincial capital for Ukrainian-controlled areas of Donetsk oblast.

The attack allegedly destroyed factory shops where military equipment damaged during the hostilities was being repaired and restored for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia claimed.

The Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which together make the Donbas region, have largely been held by Russian-backed separatists since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

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Before the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the two oblasts as independent republics. Experts have said that Putin will try to annex the Donbas region into Russia in coming months.

Another missile strike overnight in Druzhkivka, a town south of Kramatorsk, destroyed a Baptist church and homes, The New York Times reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky blasted Russia on Sunday for the destruction of Skete of All Saints, the largest wooden church in Ukraine, which burned down in the Svyatohirsk Lavra in the Donetsk region after Russian shelling.

"This is the lavra [a type of monastery] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is still considered in Moscow to be connected with the Russian Orthodox Church. Even this does not stop the Russian army," Zelensky said.

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"They are ready to burn everything [including] Orthodox churches, just like anything else in Ukraine."

Zelensky said that Russia has destroyed and damaged 113 churches including "ancient ones" that he said have "withstood World War II but did not withstand the Russian occupation."

"Russia is deliberately and systematically destroying Ukraine's cultural and historical heritage, as well as social infrastructure, housing, and everything necessary for normal life," Zelensky said.

"A state that does this cannot be a member of UNESCO and cannot remain at the UN as if nothing had happened. The U.N. Charter does not provide any rights for terrorists, and UNESCO is not a place for barbarians."

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