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HomeNewsInternational NewsRussia shells Ukrainian cities amid Kremlin-staged votes

Russia shells Ukrainian cities amid Kremlin-staged votes

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By KARL RITTER and HANNA ARHIROVA

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces launched new strikes on Ukrainian cities Saturday as Kremlin-orchestrated votes took place in occupied regions to create a pretext for their annexation by Moscow, while hundreds of people were arrested in Russia for trying to protest a mobilization order that commits more troops to the fight in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s presidential office said the latest Russian shelling killed at least three people and wounded 19. Oleksandr Starukh, the Ukrainian governor of Zaporizhzhia, one of the regions where Moscow-installed officials organized referendums on joining Russia, said a Russian missile hit an apartment building in the city of Zaporizhzhia, killing one person and injuring seven others.

Ukraine and its Western allies say the referendums underway in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions have no legal force. They alleged the votes were an illegitimate attempt by Moscow to seize Ukrainian territory stretching from the Russian border to the Crimean Peninsula.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said the voting “looked more like an opinion survey under the gun barrels,” adding that Moscow-backed local authorities sent armed escorts to accompany election officials and to take down the names of individuals who voted against joining Russia.

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