Moscow — Moscow said Thursday it thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to "invade" its southwestern border aswith missiles, killing three people including a woman and child. The Ukrainian capital faced nearly nightly air raids in May, including an unusual daytime attack on Monday that sent residents running for shelter.
As Kyiv deployed its air defenses against a fresh volley of Russian missiles, fragments from one of the rockets rained down on a neighborhood in northern Kyiv, killing the three civilians whom residents identified to the Reuters news agency as two local women and the 9-year-old daughter of one of them.
Ukraine's air force said it intercepted and destroyed all 10 missiles launched by Russia. Another 16 people were wounded.
Girl, 2 women reportedly killed in Kyiv attack
The husband of one of the victims, Yaroslav Ryabchuk, said the shelter where they routinely hid from Russian strikes was closed on Thursday, and he ran to seek help.
"When I came back there was a lot of blood, children and women were lying there. There were screams and dust," he told AFP. "Nothing matters anymore," he said, adding that his children had been "left without a mother."
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko confirmed that three people were killed when "a fragment of rocket" fell close to a clinic as they ran for cover after an air raid alert.
"A closed shelter in wartime is not just indifference, it is a crime," said Interior Minister Igor Klymenko, adding that an investigation had been opened.
Moscow has always claimed that it only targets military installations and infrastructure in Ukraine, despite strikes regularly hitting civilian homes, hospitals and other buildings.
Russia claims Ukraine "attempted to invade"
Moscow said, meanwhile, that it thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian troops to "invade" its southwestern Belgorod region.
"At about 3:00 am (0000 GMT), Ukrainian units comprising up to two motorized infantry companies, reinforced with tanks, attempted to invade," the Russian defense ministry said.
Moscow used jets and artillery to repel the attacks and prevent Ukrainian troops from crossing over into Russia, it added.
The Belgorod region, which saw an unprecedented two-day armed incursion last week, has come under intensified fire in recent weeks.
Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said eight people were wounded in "uninterrupted shelling" in the town of Shebekino. As shelling continued on Shebekino, its residents poured into centers for displaced people in the regional capital, also called Belgorod, he claimed.
Gladkov said that the city's main center was filling up with hundreds of arrivals, so additional people arriving were " being sent in an organized manner to the remaining centers."
"The main question now is to provide assistance to people, and support resettlement for those who need it," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Putin was being constantly informed of the situation.
Peskov also denounced what he said was silence from the international community over the strikes.
Despite "every opportunity to see the footage describing strikes on residential buildings, social infrastructures... there is not a single word criticizing Kyiv," Peskov said.
Russia has seen unprecedented attacks on its soil this year, including alast week. After at least eight drones were used in the attack, the Russian foreign ministry accused the West of "pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards increasingly reckless acts."
Ukraine, which has seen almost daily attacks on its capital, denied any "direct involvement."
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