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MOSCOW – Russia’s defense ministry says it used air-launched missiles to destroy a Ukrainian military base where foreign fighters allegedly were being trained.

Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Thursday that the training center was in the Zhytomyr region of central Ukraine, about 125 kilometers (75 miles) west of Kyiv.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine to the Russian claims. Russia refers to foreign fighters who joined Ukrainian troops in the war as ‘mercenaries.’

Konashenkov said Russian missiles also destroyed an ammunition depot and an anti-aircraft system elsewhere in Ukraine.



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KYIV, Ukraine – The governor of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province says Russian forces are employing “scorched-earth tactics” against the city of Sievierodonetsk, hitting it with rockets, artillery and mortars.

Serhiy Haidai also told The Associated Press on Thursday that neighboring Lysychansk is enduring “day and night shelling.” Russians are trying the storm the key road connecting Lysychansk and the city of Bakhmut but have failed to gain control of it, he said.

Haidai says Ukraine still “remains able to deliver humanitarian supplies to the region by a relatively safe route.”

Ukraine’s east has been the main focus of Russia’s attacks for more than two months.

Haidai said there were two attacks on a chemical plant and “fierce battles” continue in Sievierodonetsk.

“Street battles are taking place with varied success in city blocks,” the governor said. “The army of Ukraine is fighting for every street and house.”


PARIS – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia’s invasion of his country is a threat to the environment and could lead to dangerous pollution in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Zelenskyy made the comments at a ministerial meeting of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He used the platform to impress on ministers the need to wean states off Russian natural gas in favor of green energy.

The Black Sea and the Sea of Azov border both Ukraine and Russia. The Black Sea also borders Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey.


BERLIN – Poland’s president has sharply criticized phone calls the leaders of France and Germany had with Vladimir Putin, saying the conversations serve only to legitimize the Russian leader.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have spoken to Putin several times since Russia invaded Ukraine, both separately and together, in attempts to nudge him toward ending the war.

Polish President Andrzej Duda was quoted Thursday as telling Germany’s Bild newspaper that he’s “astonished” by the calls.

Duda argued they achieve nothing and “only bring about a legitimization of a person who is responsible for the crimes the Russian army is committing in Ukraine.”

Bild quoted Duda as adding: “Did anyone talk like this with Adolf Hitler during World War II? Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler must save face? … I have not heard such voices.”

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