Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an armoured personnel carrier in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday. Reuters
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Explosions were heard in the early hours of Saturday in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and the western city of Lviv, local media reported.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online posting that Kyiv was struck early on Saturday in the Darnytskyi district in the eastern part of the capital, saying there were "explosions.”
He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene and that victims’ details would be released later.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks to the media. File/AFP
Klitschko urged residents to heed air raid sirens and warned those who have fled the capital not to return for now for their safety.
Thick smoke rising from the site on the eastern side of Kyiv could be seen from parts of downtown near the Dnipro River.
Meanwhile, indignant over what it called Ukrainian strikes in Russian territory and following the stunning loss of its Black Sea flagship, Moscow threatened renewed missile attacks on Kyiv, where authorities said the bodies of more than 900 civilians were found outside the capital. Most had been shot dead, police said, and likely "simply executed.”
Zelensky tells Ukrainians to be proud of surviving 50 days as Russian flagship sinks
More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kyiv region: Police
Russian forces continued preparations for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine, and fighting also went on in the pummelled southern port city of Mariupol, where locals reported seeing Russian troops digging up bodies. In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the shelling of a residential area killed seven people, including a 7-month-old child, and wounded 34, according to regional Gov. Oleh Sinehubov.
In the towns around Kyiv, said Andriy Nebytov, who heads the region’s police force, bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating 95% died from gunshot wounds.
People stand beside damaged buildings at the Vizar company military-industrial complex in Vyshneve, Kyiv. AFP
"Consequently, we understand that under the (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said.
Earlier, Russia pounded a Ukrainian rocket factory following the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, as President Volodymyr Zelensky said his allies could shorten the war by delivering the weapons he had requested.
The Vizar factory, near Kyiv's international airport, was seriously damaged in the overnight strikes, a journalist saw on Friday.
Russia said it had used sea-based long-range missiles to hit the plant, which Ukraine's state weapons manufacturer says produced Neptune cruise missiles — the projectiles both Kyiv and Washington say were used to sink the Moskva warship.
Relatives mourn the dead of a territorial defence soldier in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday. AP
"There were five hits. My employee was in the office and got thrown off his feet by the blast," Andrei Sizov, the 47-year-old owner of a nearby wood workshop, told the media.
"They are making us pay for destroying the Moskva," he said.
Zelensky accused Russian troops occupying parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south of terrorizing civilians and hunting for anyone who served in Ukraine’s military or government.
"The occupiers think this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are fooling themselves,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted — and never will be accepted — by the entire Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.”
Ammunition lies near a school in Yahidne, near Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. AP
More violence could be in store for Kyiv after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of wounding seven people and damaging about 100 residential buildings with airstrikes in Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine. Authorities in another border region of Russia also reported Ukrainian shelling Thursday.
"The number and the scale of missile attacks on objects in Kyiv will be ramped up in response to the Kyiv nationalist regime committing any terrorist attacks or diversions on the Russian territory,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Mariupol has been blockaded by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion, and dwindling numbers of Ukrainian defenders have held out against a siege that has come at a horrific cost to trapped and starving civilians.
The mayor said this week that the city's death toll could surpass 20,000. Other Ukrainian officials have said they expect to find evidence in Mariupol of atrocities like the ones discovered in Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv.
Mariupol’s capture would allow Russian forces in the south, which came up through the annexed Crimean Peninsula, to fully link up with troops in the Donbas region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland and the target of the looming offensive.
It's not certain when Russia will launch a full-scale campaign.
At least five explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital between 8am (0600 GMT) and 8:20 am, according to the media. Kyiv had already been hit on October 10 and 17 by drones.
Hours after the strikes, a Moscow-installed official in southern Ukraine said the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be "liberated” by Russian forces, just like the already occupied Kherson region further east.
Last Saturday, Russia struck another southern Ukrainian port of Odesa, casting doubt on a plan to restart Ukrainian grain exports.
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