Kyiv endures a third bombardment in 5 days as Russia steps up targeting of Ukrainian cities

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia launched missiles against Kyiv for the third time in five days and also targeted other regions Monday as Moscow escalated its aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities while the front line in the war remains largely stationary.

Nine people were injured in the morning strike on the Ukrainian capital, the Ukraine Rescue Service said. The Pecherskyi district was the hardest hit. Missile debris damaged homes in two districts and a local college gym in another district, Ukraine’s National Police said.

Russia fired two ballistic missiles at Kyiv from occupied Crimea in the daylight attack, but both were intercepted above the city, said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration.

Later in the day, Ukrainian news outlets reported at least two explosions in the southern city of Odesa as Russian missile strikes also targeted several other regions. There was no immediate word on injuries or damage there.

On Thursday, Russia attacked Kyiv for the first time in six weeks, firing more than two dozen missiles before dawn. On Friday, Russia unleashed a massive attack against Ukraine’s energy sector, calling the assault retaliation for recent strikes on Russian soil.

Days of intense Ukrainian shelling of the Russian border region of Belgorod led Russia to announce plans to evacuate about 9,000 children.

The bombardment of Kyiv also came three days after a concert hall attack in Russia killed more than 130 people. Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to tie the attack to Ukraine, even though an affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Putin could use the Moscow attack to shore up support for the war and as a pretext to escalate attacks on Ukraine, analysts said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his appeal for Western partners to provide more air defense systems to protect against the unrelenting attacks.

“We never tire of repeating that Ukraine needs more air defense,” he said. “This is security for our cities and saves human lives.”

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