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At least 6 killed, 16 injured as Russian airborne offensive extends into third day

At least six people were killed and 16 injured in drone and missile strikes targeting nine of Ukraine's 24 provinces in the past 24 hours as Russia extended its largest aerial offensive in months into a third day. File photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
At least six people were killed and 16 injured in drone and missile strikes targeting nine of Ukraine's 24 provinces in the past 24 hours as Russia extended its largest aerial offensive in months into a third day. File photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE

July 10 (UPI) -- At least six people were killed and 16 injured in drone and missile strikes targeting nine of Ukraine's 24 provinces in the past 24 hours as Russia extended its largest aerial offensive in months into a third day.

A security guard and a truck driver were killed in Odessa oblast in the southwest when the region's port infrastructure came under attack damaging warehouses, vehicles and at least one vessel after Russian forces launched a barrage of missiles from the Crimean Peninsula.

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The Ukrainian Air Force said its aircraft, missile, electronic warfare and mobile fire units intercepted 14 of 20 attack drones over Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, Cherkasy, Vinnytsia and Rivne provinces.

In Kherson province, one civilian was killed and four were injured in attacks that damaged an educational facility, a high-rise building and 18 houses, Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

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Further to the east in Donetsk, one person was killed after the town of Toretsk came under attack with seven others injured in Kramatorsk and Chasiv Yar.

A 73-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman were killed in Kharkiv province in the frontline town of Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi in shelling that damaged a four-story building, set a house ablaze and razed a second, Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Syniehubov wrote in social media update.

Two women aged 18 and 88 and a 40-year-old man were also injured in the attack.

Zaporizhzhia oblast came under particularly intense bombardment with airstrikes, artillery and hundreds of drones targeting 11 cities and towns across the province, according to a post on social media by Gov. Ivan Fedorov.

More than two dozen residential buildings and infrastructure facilities were destroyed in the attacks but only one person, a resident of the capital, Zaporizhzhia, was reported to have been hurt.

State-owned power company Ukrenergo said some areas of Rivne Oblast in the west of the country were without electricity after Russian drones damaged one of its power facilities.

The attacks follow U.S. President Joe Biden kicking off a NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday by announcing new air defenses for Ukraine to help fend off Russian airborne assaults.

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The pledge for five new air defense units came the day after a wave of more than 40 Russian missiles launched against Eastern and Central Ukraine killed at least 38 people, including two adults at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv, one of the largest specialist pediatric facilities in Europe.

The United States, Germany and Romania will each supply one Patriot anti-ballistic missile system with a fourth from the Netherlands teaming with other countries while Italy will supply the European-developed SAMP-T long-range air defense system.

In a joint statement, the NATO member countries said the air defense interceptor systems would "help to protect Ukrainian cities, civilians, and soldiers and we are coordinating with the Ukrainian government so that these systems can be utilized rapidly."

The United Nations, Ukraine and others allege Monday's huge blast that destroyed part of the Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv, killing two and injuring 50, was likely due to a direct strike by a Russian missile.

Moscow has denied its forces were responsible alleging, without providing any evidence, that the hospital was struck by a stray missile from a Ukrainian air defense system.

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