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Ukraine, hit by fresh Russian missiles, faces grim New Year

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) —

Ukrainians had a grim start to 2023 on Sunday, with yet more sirens and fresh missile attacks on their territory, as the death toll from Russia’s massive New Year Eve assault across the country climbed to at least three.

Night-time shelling that battered parts of the southern city of Kherson killed one person, wounded another and blew out hundreds of windows in a children’s hospital, according to deputy presidential chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old woman injured in a rocket attack in eastern Khmelnytskyi later died of her wounds, the city’s mayor Oleksandr Symchyshyn said.

Multiple blasts rocked Kyiv and other areas of Ukraine on Saturday and through the night, injuring dozens, a sign that the pace of Russia attacks had picked up. Ukrainian officials claimed Russia was now deliberately targeting civilians, seeking to create a climate of fear and dent morale.

The blasts came just 36 hours after Russia launched a barrage of missiles on Thursday to damage energy infrastructure facilities, an unusally quickened rhythm that alarmed Ukrainian officials.

First lady Olena Zelenska expressed outrage that such massive missile attacks could come just before New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Ruining lives of others is a disgusting habit of our neighbors,” she said.

On Saturday in Kyiv, an AP photographer at the scene of the explosions saw the body of a woman as her husband and son stood nearby. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said two schools were also damaged, including a kindergarten.

Some Ukrainians defied the danger, however, to return to the country to reunite with families for the holidays.

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