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Russian ballistic missiles hit Kiev, Kharkiv as battle goes on for control of town

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ice covers a bomb crater in the town of Siversk, Donetsk region on January 13, 2023, as the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 324th day. (Photo by AFP)

The Russian military has carried out missile attacks on Kiev and the eastern city of Kharkiv, targeting critical infrastructure, Ukrainian officials have said.

A senior presidential official and other Ukrainian authorities said a series of explosions hit the capital’s Dniprovskiy district on Saturday, prompting air raid sirens across Kiev, with people urged to take shelter.

Officials said no one was reported hurt, but missile debris caused a fire in one place and houses were damaged outside the capital.

The governor of another region warned that a massive missile strike could follow in the coming hours.

Russia has been pounding Ukraine's energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing sweeping blackouts.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said Russia's missiles had likely been fired along a high, looping ballistic trajectory from the north, which would explain why the air raid siren did not sound.

Ukraine is not able to identify and shoot down ballistic missiles, he told the Ukrainska Pravda online outlet.

In Ukraine's northeast, Kharkiv's regional governor Oleg Synehubov said two S-300 missiles struck the city near the Russian border early Saturday, hitting critical energy infrastructure and industrial facilities.

The governor of the central Cherkasy region warned that a massive Russian missile strike could follow later on Saturday. 

The governor of Mykolaiv to the south said that 17 Russian Tupolev warplanes had taken off from their air bases, but after their statements the air raid alarm in Kiev and the surrounding region was lifted.

The strikes came as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Soledar, a small salt-mining town in the Donetsk region.

Russia said on Friday that its forces had taken control of Soledar, but Kiev said its troops were still fighting in the town.

Moscow has seized around a fifth of Ukraine’s expanse in its south and east. It has conditioned negotiations on a possible end to the military campaign on Ukraine’s recognition of Russian rule over the seized territories.

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