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Russian strikes across Ukraine kill at least 5 civilians and wound almost 40 others

RUSSIA fired missiles and explosive drones at six regions across Ukraine this morning, authorities said, killing at least five civilians and injuring almost 40 others, including a pregnant woman.

The attacks hit at least three major cities, including the capital Kiev, where the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell was discussing military aid and financial support for Ukraine.

He said that he started his day in an air raid shelter, calling it part of Ukraine’s “daily reality” after almost two years of war.

Ukraine, which is reliant upon Western military supplies, is struggling with ammunition and personnel shortages.

Some long-term foreign funding is also in doubt, as the latest effort to clinch a deal on Ukraine aid in the US Senate collapsed on Tuesday.

Though the roughly 900-mile front line has barely budged in recent months, the Kremlin’s forces have the upper hand in stocks of missiles and artillery ammunition used for long-range strikes.

Russia’s barrage killed four people in Kiev, the State Emergency Service said. 

The attack also killed a man in Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine, where some 20 residential buildings and public infrastructure were damaged, regional Governor Vitalii Kim said.

Thirty-five people were injured in Kiev, according to Mayor Vitalii Klitschko, including a pregnant woman.

Blocks of flats caught fire in multiple Kiev districts, Mr Klitschko said. Two power lines damaged during the attack left some 20,000 households on Kiev’s east bank without power.

It was the first significant power outage in the capital this winter due to Russian air strikes.

Last winter, Moscow’s forces targeted Kiev’s electricity infrastructure in an apparent attempt to deny residents heat, light and running water.

In Kharkiv, in north-eastern Ukraine, a 52-year-old woman was injured in a missile attack, regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

Missiles also hit as far away as the Lviv region of western Ukraine, where a fire broke out.

Meanwhile, Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously endorsed a Bill today that will allow authorities to confiscate money, valuables and other assets from people convicted of spreading “deliberately false information” about the country’s military.

The Bill is expected to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature and become law soon.

Russian officials have used the existing law against “discrediting” the military that covers offences such as “justifying terrorism” and spreading “fake news” about the armed forces to silence Mr Putin’s critics.

Multiple activists, bloggers and ordinary Russians have received long prison terms.

The new confiscation law would apply to people who are convicted of publicly inciting “extremist activities” and calling for actions that would hurt the security of the state or “discrediting” the armed forces.

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