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Two people were reported killed in Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine on August 26, as Russia reported more drone strikes, including in the capital, Moscow.

The two civilians died when a shell hit a cafe in the village of Podoli in the eastern region of Kharkiv, Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

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Podoli was occupied shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but the village was retaken by Kyiv in a counteroffensive last September.

Russian forces have been attempting to push forward on the Kharkiv region front line in recent weeks. The Ukrainian Army has acknowledged fighting there has become more difficult but says it is holding the line.

In Russia, a drone strike was reported early August 26 in the Moscow region, prompting authorities to temporarily suspend operations at all three major airports in the Russian capital.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that a drone was destroyed by air defense systems over the Istrinsky district in the Moscow region, some 50 kilometers west of the Kremlin.

Moscow’s three major airports — Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, and Vnukovo — suspended flights for a couple of hours, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

In the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said air defenses shot down a drone near the village of Kupino, with no reported damage or casualties.​

The latest reported aerial strikes in Russia come a day after multiple drone attacks were reported in Russian-occupied Crimea and inside Russia. ​

Russia has blamed Ukraine for the August 25 drone strikes and all the previous assaults that intensified after two drones were destroyed over the Kremlin in early May.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on August 25 that its air defenses neutralized a total of 73 drones over the past 24 hours, 42 of them over Crimea.

The ministry also said that a Ukrainian missile was downed in Kaluga, a region just southwest of Moscow, while Russian Telegram channels reported blasts in the sky above Kaluga, Tula, and Moscow regions, likely caused by antiaircraft fire.

Meanwhile, more than 40 combat clashes took place at the front on August 25, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported early on August 26.

The general staff also said that up to 1,500 Russian soldiers arrived on August 23 in Osypenko, a village in an area of the southern Zaporizhzhya region occupied by Russian invading forces.

It also said Ukrainian forces were continuing counteroffensive operations in the direction of the strategic southern city of Melitopol.

A U.S. official said last week that Ukrainian forces did not appear likely to be able to reach and retake Melitopol in their counteroffensive, intended to split Russian forces in the south.

Defending Ukraine’s strategy this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed suggestions that his country’s troops were spread too thinly and repeated his belief that Kyiv would regain all Ukrainian territory that has been seized by Moscow.

In other news, Ukrainian Defense Oleksiy Reznikov expressed confidence that Germany will soon supply Ukraine with Taurus cruise missiles.

Reznikov did not specify when he expected the cruise missiles, “But I don’t think it will take a whole year,” he said in published comments on August 26.

Ukraine has been demanding Taurus cruise missiles for some time. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has so far been reluctant to provide them amid fears they could also reach Russian territory.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told German media this week that “technical details” still need to be clarified.

Germany has already provided Kiev with several weapons systems, including the modern Iris-T air defense system.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa


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