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Russian forces struck a blood-transfusion center in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, causing deaths, and other missiles blasted Ukrainian aerospace firm Motor Sich’s facility in western Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, hours after two Russian ships were damaged in explosions in apparent drone attacks in the Kerch Strait.

A “guided air bomb” struck the Kupyansk city center, a few kilometers from the Russian border, late on August 5, the Ukrainian president said on social media. He added that “there were dead and wounded” and that rescue crews were still “extinguishing the fire” late into the night.

Those remarks came shortly after Zelenskiy said a Russian missile strike hit Ukrainian aerospace firm Motor Sich’s facility in western Ukraine. There was no immediate word of casualties.

The reports could not immediately be confirmed.

“Today, there was another Russian missile attack against our country,” Zelenskiy said on August 5 in his regular evening address following the attack on the aerospace firm.

“They hit Motor Sich” with Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles and Kalibr projectiles in the Khmelnytskiy region, he added.

The Khmelnytskiy region — in western Ukraine, away from the front lines and about 300 kilometers southwest of Kyiv — has previously been hit by suspected Kinzhal missiles launched by Russian MiG-31 warplanes.

A Ukrainian court seized the assets and all shares of the aerospace company two years ago. Late last year, its assets were nationalized along with those of four other companies to guarantee sufficient military supplies as it fights to repel the Russian invasion.

The former head of Motor Sich, Vyacheslav Bohuslayev, was arrested in October 2022 and accused of having aided Russia in its invasion. He denied all charges.

Elsewhere, an oil tanker became the second Russian vessel to be damaged in two days in what Moscow said was a Ukrainian drone attack overnight in the Kerch Strait, close to a bridge that links Moscow-occupied Crimea with Russia.

Russian state news agency TASS quoted the Marine Rescue Coordination Center as saying that Russian tanker SIG’s engine room was damaged by a Ukrainian attack but that the crew was safe and work was under way to tow the vessel, which could not move by itself following the attack.

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Several crew members were injured by broken glass, according to Vladimir Rogov, a Moscow-installed official in the partially occupied southern Zaporizhzhya region of Ukraine.

Kyiv has not explicitly claimed responsibility for the attack, but Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said on August 5 that Ukrainian capabilities to strike Russia were becoming increasingly competitive.

“With each new combat mission, Ukrainian combat UAVs and naval drones become more accurate, operators more experienced, combat coordination more effective, and manufacturers get opportunities to improve tactical and technical characteristics,” Danilov wrote on social media, adding, “August was particularly successful for Ukrainian hunters.”

Danilov said that Ukraine will expand “the scale, range of combat operations, the level, and severity of Russian losses.”

“Russian targets are the best training ground for Ukrainian weapons,” he said.

Vasyl Malyuk, the head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), said that any such incident was “an absolutely logical and effective step with regard to the enemy.”

Separately, the Ukrainian agency for navigation and hydrographic services warned on August 5 that six Russian Black Sea ports were in a “war risk area.”

In a statement on its website, the agency named the six ports as Anapa, Novorossiisk, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Sochi, and Taman.

Earlier, an SBU official told AP that the service was responsible for the attack, which was carried out by a naval drone filled with 450 kilograms of TNT. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements, said the vessel was supplying fuel to Russian forces.

The SIG tanker was put under sanctions by the United States in 2019 for supplying jet fuel to Russian forces in Syria.

The incident comes a day after a Russian Navy vessel was seriously damaged in the port of Novorossiisk by a drone attack claimed by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU).

In the attack on August 4, a Ukrainian naval drone carrying 450 kilograms of TNT struck the Russian Navy base in Novorossiisk, causing extensive damage to a Russian warship docked there, sources in the SBU told RFE/RL.

The sources shared a video with RFE/RL purportedly showing the landing ship Olenegorsky Gornyak from the perspective of a camera mounted on the naval drone that ceases its video feed at the moment of the alleged impact. The sources said some 100 crew members were on board the ship.

“The special operation was carried out together with the navy,” one of the sources told RFE/RL. “As a result, the Olenegorsky Gornyak incurred a large hole and is currently unable to perform its combat tasks. Therefore, all the Russians’ statements about the ‘repulsed attack’ are fake.”

The claim could not be independently verified.

Some posts on social media — which could not be verified — showed a ship reported to be the Olenegorsky Gornyak listing severely in the port while being towed.

The attack reportedly prompted a temporary halt of ship movements in Novorossiisk, one of Russia’s main commercial ports.

Attacks in and around the Black Sea have increased since Russia refused to extend a Turkey- and UN-sponsored deal that allowed the shipping of Ukrainian grain by sea.

In Ukraine, two successive air-raid alerts for the whole country were declared in the morning on August 5.

Also on August 5, Russia said it dispatched an Su-30 fighter jet over the Black Sea to “prevent a violation of the Russian state border” by a U.S. drone.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the crew identified the drone as a U.S. Air Force MQ-9A Reaper reconnaissance drone.

“As the Russian fighter approached, the foreign reconnaissance drone performed a U-turn,” the ministry said. “The Russian aircraft returned safely to its airbase, there was no violation of the border.”

U.S. officials didn’t immediately comment.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces were continuing their offensive operations in the Berdyansk and Melitopol sectors of the southern region of Zaporizhzhya, the General Staff said in its report on August 5, adding that a total of 36 combat battles took place over the past 24 hours.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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