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Russian drones struck several regions across Ukraine overnight, including Kharkiv, where four people died and 12 were injured after two residential buildings were hit in an attack President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called “despicable.

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Ukraine’s General Staff said 20 drones had struck during the night and into the morning on April 4 and that 11 were disrupted by air-defenses.

Hours after the attack, Zelenskiy wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the Kharkiv incident, in which one civilian woman was killed in an initial drone strike and three rescue workers were killed by a second strike in the same area, was “a despicable and cynical attack.”

Zelenskiy added that Kyiv was working with “partners to strengthen the protection of our cities and villages,” saying that “strengthening Ukraine’s air-defense capabilities directly translates into saving lives.”

Speaking in Brussels at a NATO meeting on the alliance’s 75th anniversary, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he didn’t want to spoil the party but his “main message today will be Patriots.”

“I don’t want to spoil the party,” Kuleba said after congratulating NATO members on the anniversary, “but my main message today will be Patriots.”

He said saving Ukrainian lives and the country’s economy and its cities “depends on the availability of Patriots and other air defense systems in Ukraine. We’re talking about Patriots because it’s the only system that can intercept ballistic missiles,” he added.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov published photographs on Telegram showing damage to a 14-floor apartment building, as well as damaged emergency vehicles.

Yevhen Vasylenko, a spokesman for the State Emergency Service, told RFE/RL that rescue workers were attempting to save people trapped in a smaller building nearby when the enemy struck again with drones.

He added that rescuers were able to save one civilian trapped under the debris.

“Usually rescue workers take shelter if there is the threat of a second strike,” Vasylenko said. “But today, a person was under the rubble and needed help, so it was necessary to act immediately.”

Three emergency vehicles were reported damaged in the Kharkiv incident.

Police in the Kharkiv region reported drone strikes in the cities of Lozova and Zmiyiv that damaged residential buildings and vehicles. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In Zmiyiv, the Energy Ministry reported that a power plant had been damaged. The ministry also said a solar power plant in the Dnipropetrovsk region had been damaged by Russian shelling.

Explosions were reported in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya in the morning on April 4. Ukraine’s power generating company, Enerhoatom, said that one of the two power lines at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is under the control of Russian occupying forces, was disconnected from the grid amid intensive Russian shelling. The Russia-installed administration of the plant confirmed the line was disconnected but provided no details.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War wrote on April 3 that Russia could be intensifying drone and missile strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, particularly its energy grid, “to further pressure the Ukrainian command to deploy air-defense systems away from the front.”

Russia denies targeting civilians since the beginning of its full-scale invasion in February 2022, but Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure are regularly hit by missile and drone attacks.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian-controlled parts of southern and eastern Ukraine killed six civilians, Russian-installed officials said on April 4.

Two people died in the southern Kherson region when a drone struck a car. Russian-installed official Andrey Alekseenko said a separate attack killed two members of a repair crew working to restore mobile communications. Another person was in hospital in critical condition.

Russian-installed officials in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, said two people had been killed there by Ukrainian shelling and nine others were wounded.

The attacks came a day after a suspected Ukrainian drone strike in Russia’s Tatarstan region, more than 1,000 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, targeted an industrial area where Iranian-made Shahed drones are reportedly assembled.

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