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Live Updates | 7 Killed Near Kharkiv; Explosion Felt in East | World News

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A large explosion has struck the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, the site of a missile strike on a train station a week earlier that left more than 50 dead and dozens wounded.

Associated Press journalists in the city heard the sound of a rocket or missile and then the blast, followed by sirens wailing early Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear what was hit or whether there were casualties.

Witnesses to the south of the capital Kjiv earlier reported explosions around 2 a.m., but the source was not clear.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Seven people died and 27 were injured after Russian forces opened fire on buses carrying civilians in the Ukrainian village of Borovaya, near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office told Ukraine’s Suspilne news website Friday.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are working to establish the circumstances of the attack, Dmytro Chubenko said. He added that investigators are also establishing the routes and destination of the vehicles transporting civilians across the Russian-controlled territory around Borovaya.

Chubenko said that Ukrainian authorities had opened criminal proceedings in connection with a suspected “violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder.”

The claims could not be independently verified.

The U.N. human rights office says at least 1,964 civilians have been killed through April 13 since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. The office believes the number is much higher, information from some areas is delayed by hostilities and other reports are pending corroboration.

Ukrainian officials say thousands and thousands of people have been killed in the war.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Russian military’s damaged Black Sea flagship sinks

— As Russia loses key ship, Zelenskyy praises nation’s resolve

— Russian legislator and 2 aides criminally charged in US

— UN says Ukraine war threatens to devastate many poor nations

— The AP Interview: UN food chief says Mariupol is starving

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

KYIV, Ukraine — Mariupol City Council said Friday that local residents report Russian troops are digging up bodies previously buried in residential courtyards and not allowing any new burials “of people killed by them.”

“A watchman has been assigned to each courtyard and is not allowing Mariupol residents to lay to rest dead relatives or friends. Why the exhumation is being carried out and where the bodies will be taken is unknown,” according to a statement on the messaging app Telegram.

The claim could not be independently verified.

Earlier this month, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told the AP that Russian forces have brought mobile cremation equipment to the city to dispose of the corpses of victims of the siege.

Boychencko said that the Russian forces were taking many bodies to a huge shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators. “Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned,” he said.

MOSCOW — Russia’s Defense Ministry on Friday promised to ramp up “the scale of missile attacks” on Kyiv in response to Ukraine’s “diversions on the Russian territory.”

The statement comes a day after Russian authorities accused Ukrainian forces of launching airstrikes on residential buildings in one of the country’s regions on the border with Ukraine, in which seven people sustained injuries.

According to Russian officials, some 100 residential buildings were damaged in Thursday’s attack on the Klimovo village in the Bryansk region. The Defense Ministry said that the Russian forces in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region shut down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter that was allegedly involved in the attack on the Bryansk region.

Authorities in another border region, Belgorod, also reported Ukrainian shelling on Thursday.

LONDON — Britain’s defense ministry says the loss of Russia’s naval flagship will likely force Moscow to change the way its naval forces operate in the Black Sea.

The Moskva sank after being damaged in disputed circumstances. Ukraine says it struck the vessel with missiles, while Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but not any attack.

In an update posted Friday on social media, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said the Soviet-era ship, which returned to operational service last year after a major refit, “served a key role as both a command vessel and air defence node.”

It said the sinking “means Russia has now suffered damage to two key naval assets since invading Ukraine, the first being Russia’s Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on 24 March. Both events will likely lead Russia to review its maritime posture in the Black Sea.”

KYIV, Ukraine — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians on Thursday they should be proud of having survived 50 days under Russian attack when the Russians “gave us a maximum of five.”

In his late-night video address, Zelenskyy called it “an achievement of millions of Ukrainians, of everyone who on Feb. 24 made the most important decision of their life — to fight.”

Zelenskyy gave an extensive and almost poetic listing of the many ways in which Ukrainians have helped to fend off the Russian troops, including “those who showed that Russian warships can sail away, even if it’s to the bottom” of the sea. It was his only reference to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sank while being towed to port.

Zelenskyy said he remembered the first day of the invasion when many world leaders, unsure whether Ukraine could survive, advised him to leave the country.

“But they didn’t know how brave Ukrainians are, how much we value freedom and the possibility to live the way we want,” Zelenskyy said.

OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada is sending soldiers to Poland to help with the care, co-ordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, including some who will come to Canada.

More than 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled into Poland since the first Russian troops crossed into Ukraine on Feb. 24 and over 2 million more have fled into other surrounding countries.

Defense Minister Anita Anand announced the deployment of up to 150 troops Thursday, saying the majority of the deployed troops will head to reception centers across Poland to help care for and register Ukrainian refugees.

Another group is being sent to help coordinate international aid efforts.

Canada has deployed hundreds of additional troops to eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion as the NATO military alliance seeks to both support Ukraine and prevent the conflict from expanding into a broader war.

KYIV, Ukraine — The head of the U.N. World Food Program said people are being “starved to death” in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and he predicted the country’s humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as Russia intensifies its assault in the coming weeks.

WFP executive director David Beasley also warned in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in Kyiv that Russia’s invasion of grain-exporting Ukraine risks destabilizing nations far from its shores and could trigger waves of migrants seeking better lives elsewhere.

The war that began Feb. 24 was “devastating the people in Ukraine,” Beasley said, lamenting the lack of access faced by the WFP and other aid organizations in trying to reach those in need amid the conflict.

The fluid nature of the conflict, which has seen fighting shift away from areas around the capital and toward eastern Ukraine, has made it especially difficult to reach hungry Ukrainians.

The WFP is trying to put food supplies now in areas that could be caught up in the fighting, but Beasley acknowledged that there are “a lot of complexities” as the situation rapidly evolves.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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