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Kyiv missile strikes: Tracking the rise of Russian attacks

Kyiv missile strikesThe Ukrainian capital Kyiv has been repeatedly hit by missiles and drones over the past few weeks. Most of the attacks come at night.

In central Kyiv, Nataliya Lyashchenko has lost count of the number of times where the sound of air sirens, drones and missiles have stopped her sleeping. During one night-time raid, she said the bright lights in the dark sky were "like Star Wars".

Strikes like these are becoming more frequent. Experts believe Russia is changing its tactics in an attempt to sap Ukraine's air defences - but also suspect that, to some degree, it is lashing out at Ukraine's civilian population in response to setbacks in the war.

BBC Verify has analysed local media reports, eyewitness accounts, and statements from local officials and the Ukrainian military to build a picture of the rise in these aerial attacks both on Kyiv and across the country since the start of this year.

In January, there were just three days when Russia launched aerial attacks on targets in Ukraine.

In May, that figure increased to 21 days. There also were attacks on the first two days of June.


Lake Maggiore boat accident: Questions remain over spy deaths

Lake Maggiore boat accident mystery

The story of a boat that sunk on Lake Maggiore on 28 May has elements of a spy novel.

Four people tragically drowned on the picturesque and popular lake south of the Swiss Alps.

One was a former agent from Israel's spy agency Mossad, two were Italian intelligence officers and the fourth victim was a Russian woman.

They were among 23 people aboard the small boat that set out to cruise the lake.

Lake Maggiore and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, and the Swiss canton of Ticino.

Several companies that produce technology capable of both military and civilian use are located in Lombardy - and Switzerland is considered a transit country for many intelligence members.



Blinken Says No Ukraine Cease-Fire Without A Peace Deal That Includes Russia's Withdrawal

Antony BlinkenU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that there can be no cease-fire in the war in Ukraine unless it is part of a “just and lasting” peace deal that includes Russia’s military withdrawal.

Blinken said that “a cease-fire that simply freezes current lines in place” and allows Russian President Vladimir Putin “to consolidate control over the territory he has seized, and rest, rearm, and reattack — that is not a just and lasting peace.”

Russia must also pay a share of Ukraine’s reconstruction and be held accountable for launching its full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022, Blinken said in a speech during a visit to Finland, which recently joined NATO and shares a long border with Russia.

Allowing Moscow to keep the one-fifth of Ukraine territory it has occupied would send the wrong message to Russia and to “other would-be aggressors around the world,” according to Blinken.


Passenger Trains Derail In India, Killing At Least 50 — Hundreds Trapped

Passenger trains derail in IndiaTwo passenger trains derailed in India on Friday, killing at least 50 people and trapping hundreds of others inside more than a dozen damaged coaches, officials said.

About 400 people were taken to hospitals after the accident, which happened in eastern India, about 137 miles southwest of Kolkata, officials said. The cause was under investigation.

Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde, the top administrator in the Balasore district, said at least 50 people were dead.

Nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers with 75 ambulances and buses responded to the accident, said Pradeep Jena, the top bureaucrat of the Odisha state.

Rescuers were attempting to free 200 people feared trapped in the wreckage, said D.B. Shinde, administrator of the state’s Balasore district.

Update: Death toll is at 207, with 900 people injured.



Sweden draws closer to NATO membership; Zelenskyy lobbies for Ukraine approval


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lobbied for financial and military assistance, his nation's peace plan and NATO membership at the European Political Community summit Thursday in neighboring Moldova.

Also Thursday, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO wants to bring Sweden into the fold by the time alliance leaders meet in Lithuania next month. Turkey’s government has balked, however, accusing Sweden of being too lenient on terrorist organizations such as Kurdish groups linked to a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.


North Korea says its attempt to launch its first spy satellite ended in failure

N Korea satellite launch failsNorth Korea's attempt to launch its first spy satellite fell flat on Wednesday when its rocket malfunctioned, sending the launch vehicle tumbling into the Yellow Sea. The North said it would try again as soon as possible.

The botched launch triggered false alarms in South Korea and Japan. Cell phones in Seoul blared out warnings to prepare to seek shelter, while alerts in Japan advised residents on the island of Okinawa to take cover. Both were later canceled when it became clear that the projectile posed no threat.

North Korean state media reported that the satellite was launched from the Sohae satellite launch site and flew south, off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. But the rocket's engine was unstable, and its second stage malfunctioned.


‘Unprecedented’ Nova Scotia wildfires expected to worsen, officials warn

Nova Scotia wildfires

Officials in the province of Nova Scotia say unprecedented wildfires that have forced thousands from their homes will keep growing despite the “water, raw muscle power and air power” deployed by fire crews.

As of Wednesday, more than 20,000 hectares of the Maritime province were burning from 13 wildfires, including three fires that considered out of control. More than 18,000 people remain under evacuation order outside Halifax, the region’s largest city. More than 200 structures, the majority of which are homes, have been destroyed by the fire. No fatalities have been recorded.

Hot, dry and windy conditions have seen the fire near the community of Tantallon grow to 837 hectares. Temperatures are expected to hit more than 30C this week, giving little respite to fatigued crews.


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