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Russian drone strikes in Ukraine kill at least 4, wound another 20

A drone flies above Ukrainian positions near Bakhmut on Mar. 20, 2023
Aris Messinis
AFP via Getty Images
A drone flies above Ukrainian positions near Bakhmut on Mar. 20, 2023

Ukraine's armed forces say Russia launched drone attacks in the Kyiv region overnight, killing at least four people and injuring another 20, in an attack on an educational facility.

Ukraine says it shot down 16 out of 21 drones. The State Emergency Service said on the Telegram messaging app that two dormitories in the city of Rzhyshchiv, south of the capital Kyiv, had been partially destroyed in and more people are likely buried under the rubble.

A statement from Ukraine's General Staff said that Russia launched 90 attacks, using drones and missiles, across the country in the past 24-hours, hitting "vital infrastructure."

"The Russian Federation continues its armed aggression against Ukraine," it said. "It does not abandon its intentions to fully occupy Donetsk and Luhansk regions."

Russian drones also struck infrastructure in the Zhytomyr region, and a missile hit a Russian-affiliated monastery in Odesa, according to local military officials. Meanwhile, rescue workers rushed to put out fires in a multi-story apartment building in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, after a late morning rocket strike.

Ukraine says Russia continues its attempts to break through the Ukrainian defense in the country's east, with much of the fighting centered around the embattled town of Bakhmut.

The attacks came as Chinese leader Xi Jinping departed Moscow after three days of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last month China had proposed principles that it said could lead to an end to the war in Ukraine, and there were hopes of some kind of breakthrough, but in the end the two leaders offered little more than lip service to the idea of a peace deal.

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Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.
Julian Hayda