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Missile strikes continue on Ukraine despite prisoner swap

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ZTNORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (TN) — Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages, killing at least seven people on Thursday, as both sides launched a recent military setback for Moscow and attack on the invaded country. Refused to accept any Aadhar despite the toll. After almost seven months of war.

Ukrainian officials said one person was killed and five others wounded in Russian missile strikes in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya. Authorities in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk said at least six people had been killed in the Ukrainian shelling.

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Demonstrating that neither side was prepared to ease the fight, a major prisoner swap by both sides followed hours of firing And the day Russian President Vladimir Putin called in reserve troops to supplement his army.

Ukraine’s presidential office deputy Kyrillo Tymoshenko said a hotel in Zaporizhzhya was hit and rescuers were trying to retrieve people trapped under the rubble.

Alexander Starukh, the governor of the Zaporizhzhya region, said Russian forces targeted infrastructure and damaged nearby apartment buildings. The region is one of four where officials set up by Moscow plan to hold a referendum on Friday on becoming part of Russia, but the city itself is in Ukrainian hands.

Meanwhile, Aleksey Kulemzin, the mayor of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, said at least five people were killed in Ukrainian shelling on Thursday when a covered market and a minibus were hit. According to the Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, overnight, one person was killed during Russian shelling in Nikopol, across the river from the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.

Hours before Thursday’s attacks, the high-profile prisoner swap saw the exchange of 215 Ukrainian and foreign fighters – 200 of them for a man, Putin’s aide. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would not confirm whether Putin’s lone ally – pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk – was part of the swap.

Among the free fighters were Ukrainian defenders of a steel plant in Mariupol during a protracted Russian siege, and 10 foreigners, including five British civilians and two American military veterans, who fought alongside Ukrainian forces.

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A video on the BBC News website on Thursday showed two released British men, Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner, speaking inside a plane. It said they had arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Pinner said: “We want to let everyone know that we are now out of the danger zone and we are going home to our families,” Pinner said: “By the skin of our teeth.”

The speed with which the Russian missile strike followed the swap suggested that the Kremlin was trying to dispel any perceptions of weakness or determination to achieve its wartime goals after recent battlefield losses and setbacks. which seriously undermined the aura of Russian military power.

Those losses culminated in Putin’s order for a partial mobilization of reservoirs on Wednesday. To strengthen his army in Ukraine. The order sparked rare protests in dozens of Russian cities and was ridiculed in the West as an act of weakness and desperation. According to the independent Russian human rights group OVD-Info, about 1,200 Russians were arrested in anti-war demonstrations.

Putin’s partial call-up was short on details, raising concerns of a wider draft that sent some Russians to buy plane tickets to flee Country. A Russian man who arrived at the Armenian capital’s airport with his 17-year-old son said he had planned for such a scenario.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov said the mobilization was needed because Russia was “really facing all NATO,” a reference to the military aid and other support that coalition members had given to Ukraine.

Speaking in New York on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock praised Russian anti-war protesters and said that no one inside the country can continue to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Ukraine because “every Russian has to be The danger of has been prepared in this war.”

A senior Kremlin official reiterated Putin’s threat on Thursday that he would use nuclear weapons if Russian territory was attacked.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said on his messaging app on Thursday that strategic nuclear weapons are one of the options for protecting Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine. The remarks seem to have served as a warning that Moscow could also target Ukraine’s western allies.

Pro-Moscow officials in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine are preparing to hold a referendum on becoming part of Russia – a move that could allow Moscow to escalate the war. Voting begins on Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk regions.

Foreign leaders have called the votes illegitimate and non-binding. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said they were a “sham” and “noise” to distract the public.

Meanwhile, Germany said on Thursday it was ready to accept Russian military desertions. Interior Minister Nancy Fesser told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that anyone who “boldly opposes Putin’s regime and therefore puts themselves in greatest danger” can apply for asylum in Germany.

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