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Ukraine war: Children among seven dead in Russian strike on Dnipropetrovsk region

Two Russian strikes in Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region have killed at least seven people, including two children, local officials say.

The station in the main city Dnipro came under attack, and several homes were hit further east in Synelnykove.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack showed that all Ukrainian cities needed more advanced air defences.

In a separate strike, Ukraine said that for the first time it had downed a strategic long-range bomber in Russia.

Officials said a boy aged eight and a girl of 14 were among five people killed when private homes were targeted by Russian strikes on the town of Synelnykove.

A six-year-old boy, who had earlier been reported killed, was in a critical condition and several other people were wounded, Dnipropetrovsk regional head Serhiy Lysak said.

Another two people were killed in the regional capital, Dnipro, when the train station and a five-storey building were hit. More than 30 people were injured in Friday’s attack in the region.

Rail operator Ukrzaliznytsia said a woman who was on duty at the time was killed and seven other railway workers were hurt.

Rescue services were continuing to search the rubble and warned that the number of victims would rise, the ministry added. A maternity hospital was also hit.

President Zelensky said that Ukraine and its allies “must defeat Russian terror”, urging Kyiv’s partners to urgently provide more advanced air defence systems.

He added that he visited Ukrainian troops close to the front lines in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on Friday.

Ukraine has for months warned that it is running low on weapons capable of bringing down Russian missiles and drones, and Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has spoken of an “urgent, critical need” for fresh military aid.

Earlier this week, the northern city of Chernihiv was struck in Russia’s deadliest attack for some time, leaving 18 dead and dozens wounded. Three Iskander cruise missiles hit residential buildings close to the centre of the city, the regional leader said.

For months, a US military aid package worth $60.8bn (£49bn) has been blocked by Republican representatives in Congress. However, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has said he is determined to bring the matter to a vote, which could take place as early as Saturday.

Will US Congress pass long-awaited Ukraine aid bill?

Meanwhile, the air force in Kyiv said it had brought down a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber 300km (186 miles) from Ukrainian territory. It said the plane eventually went down in Russia’s Stavropol region after it had launched a missile strike on Ukraine.

In January, Ukraine’s military said it had brought down an A-50 spy plane and a control centre plane over the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian media reported on Friday that the bomber had been hit by a missile fired from an upgraded Soviet S-200 air defence system.

Unverified video on Friday showed a plane on fire spiralling out of control to the ground and Stavropol regional governor Vladimir Vladimirov said only that the plane had crashed in a Russian field some distance north of the main city.

Russia’s defence ministry blamed a technical malfunction after the bomber had carried out a “combat task”. Two pilots had been found alive, a third crew member was killed and rescue services were looking for a fourth, the governor said.

Ukrainian air force chief Lt Gen Mykola Oleshchuk said Russia had fired six Kh-22 cruise missiles overnight and two of them had been destroyed for the first time.

The Tu-22M3 is described as a supersonic bomber and the air force commander said the planes were used to carry Kh-22 missiles for attacks on Ukrainian cities.

bbc

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