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Missiles, Drones Hit Zaporizhzhia Again10/07 06:08


   KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- The death toll from a missile attack on apartment 
buildings in a southern Ukrainian city rose to 11 as more Russian missiles and 
-- for the first time -- explosive packed drones targeted Ukrainian-held 
Zaporizhzhia on Friday.

   As the war sparked by Russia's February invasion of its neighbor ground on, 
the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to human rights 
organizations in Russia and Ukraine, and an activist jailed in Russian ally 

   Asked by a reporter whether the prize shared by Belarus rights activist Ales 
Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organization Center 
for Civil Liberties should be seen as a "birthday gift" to Russian President 
Vladimir Putin, who turned 70 on Friday, committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen 
said no.

   "The prize is not addressing President Putin, not for his birthday or in any 
other sense, except that his government, as the government in Belarus, is 
representing an authoritarian government that is suppressing human rights 
activists," Reiss-Andersen said.

   Putin this week illegally claimed four regions of Ukraine as Russian 
territory, including the Zaporizhzhia region that is home to a sprawling 
nuclear power plant under Russian occupation; the city of the same name remains 
under Ukrainian control.

   With its army losing ground to a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country's 
south and east, Russia has deployed Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian 
targets. The unmanned, disposable "kamikaze drones" are cheaper and less 
sophisticated than missiles but have proved effective at causing damage to 
targets on the ground.

   The regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Iranian-made Shahed-136 
drones damaged two infrastructure facilities in the city of Zaporizhzhia, the 
first time they were used there. He said missiles also struck the city again, 
injuring one person.

   The Emergency Services of Ukraine said the toll of Russian S-300 missile 
strikes on the city a day earlier rose to 11 and another 21 people were rescued 
from the rubble of destroyed apartments.

   "This was not a random hit, but a series of missiles aimed at multi-story 
buildings," Starukh wrote on his Telegram channel.

   Russia was reported to have converted the S-300 from its original use as a 
long-range antiaircraft weapon into a missile for ground attacks because of a 
shortage of other, more suitable weapons.

   The Ukrainian military said most of the drones it shot down Thursday and 
into Friday were the Iranian-made Shahed-136. The weapons are unlikely to 
significantly affect the course of the war, however, the Washington-based 
Institute for the Study of War said.

   "They have used many drones against civilian targets in rear areas, likely 
hoping to generate nonlinear effects through terror. Such efforts are not 
succeeding," analysts at the think tank wrote.

   Meanwhile, Ukraine's ability to capture and put back into service Russian 
tanks and other equipment continues to be an important factor in its forces' 
push to repel the invasion.

   Ukrainian forces have captured at least 440 tanks and about 650 armored 
vehicles since the start of the war, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Friday.

   "The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact equipment before withdrawing 
or surrendering highlights their poor state of training and low levels of 
battle discipline," the British said. "With Russian formations under sever 
strain in several sectors and increasingly demoralized troops, Russia will 
likely continue to lose heavy weaponry."

   The Ukrainian military also said Friday that 500 former criminals have been 
mobilized to reinforce Russian ranks in the eastern Donetsk region, where 
Ukrainian forces have retaken some territory. The new units are commanded by 
officers drawn from law enforcement, the military said.

   U.S. President Joe Biden warned Thursday that Putin has driven the risk of 
nuclear "Armageddon" to the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. 
Russian officials have spoken of the possibility of using tactical nuclear 
weapons to defend Russia's territory, including the newly annexed regions of 

   Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, 
Biden said Putin was "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical 
nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons."

   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held another telephone call with 
Putin on Friday to discuss bilateral ties and the war in Ukraine.

   Erdogan told Putin that Turkey was ready to fulfil its part for a "peaceful 
resolution of the Ukraine issue in a manner that would be to the benefit of 
everyone," according to a statement from the Turkish leader's office.

   In the Czech capital, European Union leaders converged on Prague Castle to 
try to bridge significant differences over a natural gas price cap as winter 
approaches and Russia's war on Ukraine fuels a major energy crisis.

   As the Europeans bolster their support for Ukraine in the form of weapons, 
money and aid, Russia has reduced or cut off natural gas to 13 member nations, 
leading to surging gas and electricity prices that could climb higher as demand 
peaks during the cold months.

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