No let-up in hostilities in Ukraine regardless of prisoner swap

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Russian missile strikes within the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Zaporizhzhia left one individual lifeless and 5 others wounded, Ukrainian officers stated Thursday, whereas officers within the Russian-controlled metropolis of Donetsk stated Ukrainian shelling killed at the least 5 individuals.

It was a stark sign that hostilities haven’t diminished regardless of a high-profile prisoner swap simply hours earlier.

Zaporizhzhia Gov. Oleksandr Starukh stated Russian forces focused infrastructure amenities and in addition broken close by residence buildings.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy of the Ukrainian president’s workplace, stated {that a} resort within the central a part of the Zaporizhzhia was struck and that rescuers have been on the scene attempting to free individuals trapped within the rubble.

The Zaporizhzhia area is considered one of 4 by which Russia is planning to carry referendums beginning Friday on changing into a part of Russia, however the metropolis itself is in Ukrainian arms.

In the meantime, Donetsk metropolis Mayor Alexei Kulemzin stated at the least 5 individuals the place killed when Ukrainian shelling Thursday hit a lined market and a passenger minibus.

Simply hours earlier than the most recent assaults, a high-profile prisoner swap noticed 215 Ukrainian and international fighters exchanged — 200 of them for a single individual, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among the many freed fighters have been Ukrainian defenders of a metal plant in Mariupol throughout the lengthy Russian siege of the southern port metropolis and 10 foreigners, together with 5 British nationals and two U.S. navy veterans, who had fought with Ukrainian forces.

A video on the BBC information web site Thursday confirmed two of the launched British males, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, talking inside a aircraft. The video stated they’d arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“We simply need to let everybody know that we’re now out of the hazard zone and we’re on our method residence to our households,” Aslin stated within the video, as Pinner added: “By the pores and skin of our enamel.”

The velocity with which the Russian missile assault got here after the swap prompt that the Kremlin was looking for to dispel any notion of weak spot or waning willpower to realize its conflict goals following latest battlefield losses that gravely undercut the aura of Russian navy would possibly.

These losses appeared to spur Putin’s order Wednesday for a partial mobilization of reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine, a transfer that sparked uncommon protests in Russia and was derided within the West as an act of weak spot and desperation.

The order for the partial call-up was quick on particulars, elevating considerations of a wider draft that despatched some Russians scrambling to purchase aircraft tickets to flee the nation.

The transfer preceded referendums that authorities in Russian-controlled areas in japanese and southern Ukraine are making ready to carry on changing into a part of Russia — a transfer that might enable Moscow to escalate the conflict on the grounds of defending Russian soil. The votes begin Friday within the Luhansk, Kherson and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk areas.

International leaders are already calling the votes illegitimate and nonbinding. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky stated they have been a “sham” and “noise” to distract the general public.

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