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Russian missile strikes in eastern Ukraine tear through buildings and bury families in rubble

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missiles tore through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said Thursday, killing at least one person and burying families under rubble as the Kremlin’s forces continued to pound the fiercely contested area with long-range weapons.

Russian military units simultaneously launched six S-300 missiles during the night, according to Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko.

The missiles struck three Donetsk cities — Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad, he said. The cities lie 25-40 kilometers (15-25 miles) from the front line.

Emergency workers pulled the body of a 62-year-old man from the wreckage of a destroyed multi-story building in Novohrodivka. Four more people may be under the rubble, including a child, authorities said.

In Pokrovsk, the strikes destroyed a multi-story building, nine houses, a police office and cars. Emergency crews helped rescue a man with a 6-month-old baby, covered in blood, in his hands, officials said.

The head of the city administration, Serhii Dobriak, said it was fourth time Pokrovsk came under attack in the past month.

“They are striking the city center, the houses,” he said. “They are just destroying the civilian population.”

He urged people to evacuate because “the intensity of strikes is increasing.”

All three of the targeted cities are close to Avdiivka, a city where a fierce battle has taken place in recent months.

Avdiivka is a gateway to parts of the Donetsk region still under Ukrainian control.

Ukrainian officials said recently that Russian forces have ramped up attacks in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to gain ground near Avdiivka and around Bakhmut, another key front-line city.

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