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Russian forces fire missiles in southern Ukraine

Russian forces fired several missiles on the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Thursday, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said in a post on Telegram.

“The occupiers have launched missiles on the regional center, targeting infrastructure facilities. The extent of destruction and casualties is being clarified. Take shelter!” Starukh said.

He said fires broke out in the Ukrainian-controlled city as a result of the attack, and “residential buildings were destroyed.”

Acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia, Anatoly Kurtev, also said residential buildings were on fire in a post on Telegram on Thursday.

It’s unclear whether there are casualties, but Starukh said “rescue teams are working” to determine that.

Some context: The southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia is situated along the Dnieper River, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the nuclear power plant that bears its name and remains under Russian military control.

Zaporizhzhia is one of four areas of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed — in violation of international law and the protests of Western governments.

Russia has declined to clarify the borders of the territories it claims to have annexed and is not even in full control of these regions — with Kyiv’s forces making rapid advances in their counteroffensive.

Russian forces have controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for months, and the area has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks. The confrontation over the status of the plant — which Moscow now claims as Russian federal property — and shelling that has damaged some installations there, has led the UN nuclear watchdog to intervene: Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tweeted Wednesday that he was urgently traveling to Kyiv.

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