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Russia Strikes Cities Across Ukraine   09/21 06:21


   KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russian missiles and artillery pounded cities across 
Ukraine early Thursday, sparking fires, killing at least two people and 
trapping others under rubble, authorities said, as Ukrainian ally Poland said 
it would stop providing weapons amid a trade dispute.

   The early morning wave of missile strikes on what's known as the 
International Day of Peace was Russia's largest in over a month, and came amid 
the United Nations General Assembly summit in New York, where Ukrainian 
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had denounced Russia as "a terrorist state."

   Zelenskyy, who delivered a speech presenting a Ukrainian "peace formula," 
was to meet Thursday with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders in 
Washington with an additional $24 billion aid package hanging in the balance.

   Poland, which has been a major supporter of Ukraine, said it would stop 
transferring its own weapons to its neighbor as it works to modernize its own 
military, but denied the decision was linked to a simmering dispute over a 
temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

   Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the decision would not affect 
NATO and U.S. weapons transfers through Poland.

   "We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will 
arm ourselves with the most modern weapons," he said in an interview on the 
private TV broadcaster Polsat News late Wednesday.

   A dispute about whether Ukrainian grain should be allowed to enter the 
domestic markets of Poland and other European Union countries has pushed the 
tight relationship between Kyiv and Warsaw to its lowest point since Russia 
invaded Ukraine last year.

   Morawiecki stressed that Poland would defend its economic interests, but 
added that the dispute over grain imports would not hurt Ukraine's security.

   "We are not going to risk the security of Ukraine," he said. Poland has 
transferred large amounts of its older weapons to Ukraine and has been 
upgrading its own inventory with new equipment purchased from South Korea and 
other countries.

   Air raid sirens sounded repeatedly across Ukraine, as Russia launched dozens 
of missiles and, near the front lines, likely used shorter-range artillery to 
pound the southern city of Kherson. Two people were killed in Kherson Thursday 
and at least five injured after a residential building was hit, said regional 
Governor Oleksand Prokudin.

   Seven people were injured in Kyiv, including a 9-year-old girl, Mayor 
Vitalii Klitschko said, as missile strikes blew out windows in buildings and 
cars and left fires burning around crumpled metal wreckage.

   Marharyta Moldokova, 76, who had taken shelter on the floor of her Kyiv home 
just before hearing the explosion and sound of her window shattering, denounced 
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

   "God, we can't wait for someone to shoot him," she said. "Everything is not 
enough for him. ... What does he need?"

   Students at the National Academy of Statistics, Accounting and Audit in Kyiv 
stood outdoors looking at a building where metal strips hung from the portico 
and empty window frames were bent inward.

   Illia Melnyk said he had taken shelter behind two walls as he heard an 
explosion and saw a flash and then ran outside.

   "When I came out, I saw bricks falling from the door," he said. "It was 
visible how the wall was broken and the door was knocked out. ... It was scary."

   The academy, located in Kyiv's cozy Tatarka neighborhood, has endured 
numerous missile strikes and damage from falling debris. It is located near an 
arms maker that manufactures high-precision ammunition and missiles.

   The Ukrainian Air Force said it had intercepted 36 of 43 cruise missiles 
launched deep into Ukraine. Kharkiv, closer to the front lines, was struck with 
S-300 missiles.

   At least six strikes damaged civilian infrastructure in the Slobidskyi 
district of Kharkiv, said regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov. The city's mayor 
added that two people had been hospitalized.

   At least 10 people were injured and at least one person was rescued from 
under rubble in Cherkasy, in central Ukraine, according to Ihor Klymenko, 
minister of internal affairs of Ukraine. Up to 23 people may still be buried 
under rubble, said Cherkasy regional Governor Ihor Taburets. Rescue services 
were working to clear the debris.

   An industrial zone was hit in the western region of Lviv, damaging buildings 
and starting a fire, but no information on casualties was immediately 
available, Klymenko added.

   Regional Governor Vitalii Koval reported strikes in the city of Rivne in the 
northwest region of the same name, without immediately providing details.

   Russia's Ministry of Defense said 22 drones were taken down overnight by air 
defense systems, 19 above Russian-annexed Crimea and three others in the Kursk, 
Belgorod and Oryol regions near Ukraine. The defense ministry did not say 
whether there were any casualties.

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