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The Ukrainian military has received cluster munitions pledged by the United States to boost its counteroffensive against the Russian invasion, a senior army official said on July 13 after Russia launched drone and missile strikes on Kyiv and other Ukrainian regions for a third day in a row.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one man was killed and four others were wounded in the strikes on the Ukrainian capital overnight.

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“We just got them, we haven’t used them yet,” General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, the head of Ukraine’s southern command, said in an interview with CNN, referring to the controversial cluster munitions. He added that Russian forces understand that this will give Ukraine an advantage and “radically change” the battlefield situation.

The United States last week said it would deliver cluster bombs to Ukraine despite concerns over the long-term risk to civilians.

Ukrainian forces will not deploy the weapon in heavily populated areas, Tarnavskiy said.

“The Russians think that we will use it on all areas of the front….This is very wrong,” he said.

The news came as Germany said that additional military aid, including Leopard 2 battle tanks with ammunition and Gepard self-propelled antiaircraft guns, was on its way to Ukraine. A government statement said Germany’s “security capacity building initiative” now amounts to 5.4 billion euros in 2023.

The drone and missile strikes earlier on July 13 killed at least two people, wounded several others, and caused material damage despite the success of Ukraine’s air defense systems in destroying almost all incoming projectiles, regional officials and the military said.The body of the dead person was discovered by firefighters in Kyiv’s Podil district, Klitschko said on Telegram, adding that two of the wounded were hospitalized. Buildings were also damaged, Klitschko said.

Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said about a dozen Iranian-made drones were shot down above the capital overnight.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said debris from the destroyed drones fell on four districts of Kyiv.

Separately, the Ukrainian air defense said that it shot down all 20 drones that targeted Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.

It also destroyed two Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea and one Iskander cruise missile launched from Russian-occupied Crimea.

“We executed a successful air-defense operation,” Yuriy Ihnat, an air-defense spokesman, told national television.

“Twenty Shaheds were destroyed — all those flying were shot down.”

Some of the drones and the cruise missiles were shot down above the regions of Mykolayiv and Khmelnytskiy, local authorities reported.

It was the third successive night of Russian strikes on Ukraine, which started just hours before a two-day NATO summit crucial for Kyiv opened in Vilnius, Lithuania, some 260 kilometers from Russia and 30 kilometers from Moscow ally Belarus.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian troops were involved in 35 combat actions around Bakhmut, in the eastern region of Donetsk, the General Staff reported early on July 13.

Serhiy Cherevatiy, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military, said on July 12 that Ukrainian forces were moving forward at a “fairly moderate pace” in the Bakhmut area and the initiative remains with them.

It was not possible for RFE/RL to verify the reports from the battlefield.

In a separate development, Russian Major General Ivan Popov, the commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army that is currently involved in the fighting in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya region, said on July 12 that he was instantly dismissed after sending a report to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov in which he described the abysmal situation of the Russian troops at the front.

In a voice message published by Russian lawmaker Andrei Gurulev, Popov said he outlined the problems that cause mass deaths on the battlefield. Popov said his report resulted in his being dismissed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu “in one day.”

On July 12, Russia’s Defense Ministry said more than 2,000 pieces of military hardware from the private military company Wagner had been turned over following the mercenary group’s short-lived mutiny last month.

The group is completing its handover of weapons, including tanks, rockets, and more than 2,500 tons of ammunition, and about 20,000 small arms, to Russia’s regular armed forces, the ministry said on July 12.

The weapons have been transferred to rear positions where the equipment can be maintained or repaired, it said.

The handover follows a deal under which Wagner and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, called off their mutiny. The Wagner fighters, who took part in some of the heaviest fighting of the war in Ukraine, were given the option of joining Prigozhin in exile in Belarus, joining Russia’s regular armed forces, or going home.

Prigozhin’s whereabouts is still unknown. Belarusian authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka told reporters last week that the 62-year-old mercenary chief was in Russia.

Russian state television, meanwhile, said companies associated with Prigozhin have received more than 1 billion rubles ($11.1 million) in contracts to supply food to schools and hospitals since the private mercenary group mounted a mutiny on June 24.

The largest customer was the Department of Education in the district of Mytishchi to supply meals to schools in the Moscow region in 2023-2025.

The Foreign Ministry maintains it has no reason to terminate contracts with Wagner-related firms.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Reuters, AFP, and AP

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