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Overnight airstrikes kill 3 in Ukraine as Moscow airport halts flights after foiled drone attack

Workers install the Ukrainian coat of arms on the shield in the hand of the country's tallest stature, the Motherland Monument, after the Soviet coat of arms was removed, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. Ukraine is accelerating efforts to erase the vestiges of centuries of Soviet and Russian influence from the public space amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine by pulling down monuments and renaming hundreds of streets to honor home-grown artists, poets, military chiefs, and independence leaders. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Three people have died during a night of air strikes and intense shelling across Ukraine, officials said Sunday, while Moscow’s second-largest airport briefly suspended flights following a foiled drone attack near the Russian capital.

Two people were killed and four more were injured following a Russian air strike in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, said the head of the local regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that a guided bomb had hit a blood transfusion center in the area’s Kupyan district late on August 5.

“This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy wrote on social media. “Defeating terrorists is a matter of honor for everyone who values life.”

A woman in her eighties was also killed by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-held Donetsk, the city’s Moscow-appointed mayor Alexei Kulemzin said Sunday. Moscow’s Vnukovo airport located 15 kilometers (nine miles) southwest of the Russian capital briefly suspended flights Sunday morning after a drone was shot down in the airspace around the city.

The drone was destroyed by air defense systems in the Podolsk region of the Moscow suburbs, the Russian defense ministry said.

Authorities in Ukraine, which generally avoids commenting on attacks on Russian soil, didn’t say whether it launched the raid.

Flights were last halted at the airport on July 30, when two drones crashed into the Moscow City business district after being jammed by Russian air defenses.

The attack was one of four strikes on the Russian capital in the space of a month, spotlighting Moscow’s vulnerability as Russia’s war in Ukraine drags into its second year.

The attempted drone strike followed a night of heavy clashes across Ukraine. The Ukrainian air force reported Sunday that Russian forces had launched 70 attack drones and air and sea missiles overnight.

The bombardment reportedly included cruise missiles launched from aircraft over the Caspian Sea and Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 strike UAVs.

Serhiy Tyurin, deputy head of Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky region military administration, said Sunday that Russian missiles had damaged several buildings in the area, injuring one and sparking a fire in a warehouse. IN Ukraine’s eastern Kupyan region, a 55-year-old man was hospitalized after missiles struck local houses and farm buildings. The attack also ignited a forest fire, officials said on social media.

In the Russian-held city of Donetsk, Ukrainian shelling also set alight the main building of the M. Tugan-Baranovsky University of Economics and Trade, said the Moscow-installed head of the illegally annexed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin.

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said that the blaze caused the building’s roof to collapse, but that there were no casualties.