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Russia launches first drone strike on Kyiv in 12 days

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KYIV, July 2 (AP): After a relative lull, Russia launched a drone attack early Sunday on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, officials said. It was the first such attack of the war in 12 days.

All of the Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones were detected and shot down, according to Serhii Popko, the head of the Kyiv city administration.

In addition to the city itself, the surrounding Kyiv region was targeted. Kyiv regional Gov. Ruslan Kravchenko reported that one person was wounded by falling debris from a destroyed drone.

Officials in the Ukrainian capital didn’t provide an exact number of drones that attacked the city.

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But Ukraine’s air force said that across the country, eight Shaheds and three Kalibr cruise missiles were launched by the Russians.

Further south, a 13-year-old boy was wounded in overnight shelling of Ukraine’s partially occupied southern Kherson province, said Oleksandr Tolokonnikov, spokesman for the Ukrainian administration of the province.

The child was wounded when the Russian army shelled the village of Mylove on the banks of the Dnieper River in the Beryslav district, Tolokonnikov said.

“The child was hospitalised, there is no threat to his life,” Tolokonnikov added,” he said on state TV.

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Shelling of the Kherson province continued Sunday morning, wounding four people in the regional capital, also called Kherson.

The regional prosecutor’s office said that a residential area of the city was targeted by Russian troops operating in the Russia-occupied part of the Kherson province.

“At least four citizens were wounded, two of them due to a targeted strike on a high-rise building,” the office wrote on Telegram.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military reported that the most intense fighting continued in Ukraine’s industrial east, with attacks focused around Bakhmut, Marinka and Lyman in the country’s Donetsk province, where 46 combat clashes took place.

In its regular update Sunday morning, the General Staff said that over the previous 24 hours, Russia had carried out 27 airstrikes, one missile strike and around 80 attacks from multiple rocket launchers, targeting regions in the north, northeast, east and south of the country.

In Russia, local officials reported that air defense systems shot down a drone over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, while the neighbouring Kursk region faced shelling attacks. No casualties or damage were reported.

Following the drama of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebellion last week, Russian authorities remained defiant.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin came out of this situation “having strengthened his position even more both in the country and in the world.”

Russian society, he said, “having passed this test, has shown its maturity.” According to Volodin, there was “not a single example of someone supporting the rebellion.”

But Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of the Russian group of forces fighting in Ukraine, was believed to have been detained days after the mutiny.

It’s not clear whether Surovikin, who has longtime links to Prigozhin, faces any charges or where he is being held, reflecting the opaque world of the Kremlin’s politics and uncertainty after the revolt.

Writing on Telegram, Volodin said that the Russian president “did everything to prevent bloodshed and confusion,” including explaining to Wagner fighters “the real state of affairs.” “(Putin) suggested that those who want to defend Russia continue their service with weapons in their hands. As far as I know, many of them agreed to this,” Volodin said.

In addition, the speaker of the State Duma said that he had analyzed the “challenges” Russia faced in the past, affirming that if “someone like Putin” had been leading the country in 1917 and 1991, there wouldn’t have been a revolution in Russia, and the USSR wouldn’t have collapsed.

But independent observers and analysts say that Putin may come out politically weakened after first announcing that Wagner would face harsh repercussions, only to later say that the group’s forces wouldn’t face prosecution. Prigozhin was also allowed to leave Russia for Belarus.

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