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Ukraine says Russian missiles kill one, troops press on Avdiivka

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Russian warplanes fired 19 long-range missiles at targets in Ukraine on Friday, killing one civilian in a central region, wounding eight and damaging an industrial facility and power lines, Ukrainian officials said.

On the 1,000-km (600-mile) front line in the war against Russia, Ukrainian officials said Moscow’s forces pressed on with a drive to encircle the shattered eastern town of Avdiivka.

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Officials also reported heavy battles in the northeast near Kupiansk, a town seized by Russian forces soon after their February 2022 invasion but later retaken by Ukraine.

The missile strike on Friday morning was the first big salvo Russia has fired at targets, including the Ukrainian capital, in weeks. Russia has mainly been using drones for its overnight attacks.

One person was killed and eight injured in the central region of Dnipropetrovsk, Governor Serhiy Lysak said on the Telegram messaging app. Two wounded were in serious condition.

Air defenses shot down 14 incoming missiles over the region outside Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk region, air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said in televised comments.

The strike damaged power lines, an unnamed industrial facility and more than 20 homes in the towns of Pavlohrad and Ternivka and two villages, Lysak said. Images from the site, posted on social media, showed buildings with damaged rooftops and shattered windows.

Russia used seven Tu-95 bombers to launch missiles at different regions across the country, the air force said.

Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said the Ukrainian capital had been targeted but that all the missiles were downed by air defenses as they approached.

Missile debris smashed windows and walls in private homes in the Kyiv region, Governor Ruslan Kravchenko said, with air alerts in force for two hours. Officials reported an earlier overnight missile attack on the northeastern Kharkiv region.

In Avdiivka, dominated by a vast coking plant, Ukraine’s general staff said its forces had repelled 32 enemy attacks.

The head of the military administration in the town, less than 12 km (eight miles) from the outskirts of the Moscow-held regional capital of Donetsk, said Russian forces were “pressing on the entire defensive line around the town”.

“Weather conditions prevent the occupiers from using their vehicles, so they resort to ‘human wave’ assaults, throwing more personnel into battles,” Vitaliy Barabash told Espreso TV.

Moscow’s forces have been inching forward on the flanks to try to cut supply lines.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Russian forces had suffered heavy losses around the town. He told national television Russian forces had dropped about 450 aerial bombs in the region and were bringing in reserves.

The Russian Defense Ministry rarely mentions Avdiivka in its reports, but the war blog Rybar said on Friday that battles were raging by the coking plant and near Stepove village north of the city. Rybar acknowledged that the front was all but unchanged.

Further north, Ukrainian military spokesperson Volodymyr Fitio said Russian forces were deploying more reserves in a drive on the village of Synkivka - seen as a foothold on any attempt to retake Kupiansk, 14 km (nine miles) distant.

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