Russian missile attack kills policeman, injures 52 others in Zelenskyy's hometown in central Ukraine

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Service, people work to extinguish a fire following a Russian attack in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile attack Friday on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown in central Ukraine killed one policeman and injured at least 52 others, emergency officials said, while another attack in the southern Kherson region killed three people.

The strikes were among multiple Russian attacks across the country overnight, officials said. Meanwhile, Moscow is trying to strengthen its position politically with local elections in areas it has illegally annexed, including some it still does not control. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it does not recognize the “fake elections.”

The strikes came days after 16 people were killed in a Russian attack on a market in eastern Ukraine and drone debris was found in Romania . That sparked fears among local residents that the war could spread into the NATO-member country bordering Ukraine.

Ten buildings were damaged in the attack on Zelenskyy’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih Friday. Three people pulled from the rubble were in serious condition, according to Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s minister of Internal Affairs. Photos posted by Klymenko on Telegram showed a building on fire, burnt timbers and emergency services evacuating the injured.

Three people were also killed Friday after a Russian bomb struck the village of Odradokamianka in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, Klymenko said.

Also on Friday, a funeral was being held for an 18-year-old who was among 16 people killed Wednesday in a Russian attack on a market in Kostiantynivka in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. The attack, which wounded 33 others, turned the market into a fiery, blackened ruin and overshadowed a two-day visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed at assessing Ukraine’s three-month-old counteroffensive. Blinken’s visit signaled ongoing U.S. support with the announcement of an additional $1 billion in aid.

Meanwhile, Russia is holding local elections in the part of the Kherson region it controls. Local elections are also being held in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions. In Kherson, local residents and Ukrainian activists say election poll workers have made house calls accompanied by armed soldiers.

Ukraine has dismissed the elections, calling on its allies to condemn Russia’s actions and urging them not to recognize any administration created as a result of the votes.

The war continued to raise difficult questions for other nations trying to manage the war’s fallout on food security, inflation and other matters.

Britain announced Friday it will host a global food security summit in November in response to Russia’s withdrawal of a Black Sea grain deal and attacks on Ukraine’s grain supply.

The announcement came as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in India for a Group of 20 summit, where he hopes to marshal international resources to counteract the war’s impact on the global food supply.

Sunak’s government said Royal Air Force aircraft will fly over the Black Sea as part of efforts to deter Russia from striking cargo ships transporting grain from Ukraine.

“We will use our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea, call out Russia if we see warning signs that they are preparing attacks on civilian shipping or infrastructure in the Black Sea, and attribute attacks to prevent false-flag claims that seek to deflect blame from Russia,” the U.K. government said.