drone

US Media Reports Israel As Being Responsible For Drone Attacks At Iranian Military Plant

According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, Israel was responsible for drone attacks on a military plant in Iran; specifically in the central city of Isfahan. The New York Times cited a senior intelligence official who was familiar with the conflict between Israel and Iran. 

A US Department of Defense spokesperson also told CNN that the US has not conducted strikes or operations in Iran. 

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“We’ve seen the press reports, but can confirm that no US military forces have conducted strikes or operations inside Iran. We continue to monitor the situation, but have nothing further to provide.”

The Israel Defense Forces and Iran’s Defense Ministry have not offered any information regarding the attack.

“An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated to the Ministry of Defense. The explosion had left some damage, “but fortunately there were no casualties,” said the deputy head of security for Isfahan governorate Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari to the Fars News Agency.

IRNA, a state news agency, also stated “the explosion had been caused by “small drones.”

“There was an unsuccessful attack by small drones against a defense ministry industrial complex and fortunately with predictions and air defense arrangements already in place, one of them (struck),” IRNA said.

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“The air defense system of the complex was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, this unsuccessful attack killed no one and minor damage was sustained to the roof of the complex.”

Within the past few years there have been several explosions that have occurred around Iranian military and nuclear facilities. 

According to Iran’s Supreme Nation Security Council, as reported by CNN, “In July 2020, a fire tore through the Iranian Natanz nuclear complex, a site that has been key to the country’s uranium enrichment program, in Isfahan Province, south of the capital Tehran. Iranian authorities decided not to publicly announce the findings on what caused the fire due to security concerns.”

In 2021, Natanz experiences a blackout, which Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization labeled a “terrorist action,” with a potential involvement from Israel.

No further reports on the recent explosion have been made at this time from either nation. 

covid

China Foreign Minister Calls International Travel Restrictions For Citizens ‘Unacceptable’

The United States, Canada, France, and Japan are among the countries implementing restrictions for travelers from China due to an ongoing concern over their rise in Covid-19 cases. Nations are asking travelers to provide a negative Covid-19 test before arrival at their destination.

China has responded by calling these international restrictions on travelers “unacceptable,” following more than a dozen nations’ announcements of the new restrictions. 

China’s recent spike in Covid-19 cases came after Beijing lifted their zero-Covid policies in December, which has led to a sudden rise in hospitalizations and deaths; crematoriums have also reported being overwhelmed according to the Aljazeera publication. 

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Beijing is continuing to follow through with their reopening plans, and have even gotten rid of their mandatory quarantine requirements for individuals arriving into the city. Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning held a briefing this week to discuss the reopening and recent international travel restrictions from other countries. 

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travelers. This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable.” 

Ning also warned that China may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity.”

France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne stated that the restrictions made sense, and as a nation they are “performing [their] duty in asking for testing.” 

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Overall, the international travel restrictions will impact everyone traveling out of China, not just its citizens. The US and other countries have stated that Beijing hasn’t been fully honest regarding their infection data and risk factors surrounding new variants. 

“As health workers nationwide battle a surge in cases, a senior doctor at one of Shanghai’s top hospitals said 70 percent of the megacity’s population may now have been infected with COVID-19,” state media reported.

Chen Erzhen, a member of Shanghai’s COVID expert advisory panel, estimated that “the majority of the city’s 25 million people may have been infected.

Now the spread of the epidemic in Shanghai is very wide, and it may have reached 70 percent of the population, which is 20 to 30 times more than [in April and May],” he told Jiangdong Studio.

Korea

North Korea Launches 23 Missiles, Crossing Maritime Border with the South

According to the South Korean military, North Korea launched at least 23 missiles to the east and west of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday. It is the highest number of short-range missiles fired by the North in a day, with one missile landing in waters farthest south than ever before.

Many kinds of missiles were fired, including surface-to-air missiles that landed in surrounding waters. A short-range ballistic missile landed near South Korean territorial waters for the first time since the division of Korea in 1948. According to CNN, this is North Korea’s 29th launch this year.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said one missile landed in international waters 104 miles (167 kilometers) northwest of South Korea’s Ulleung island, which is also around 16 miles (26 kilometers) south of the Northern Limit Line. The NLL is a de facto maritime boundary between the two countries, which North Korea does not recognize.

An air raid warning on Ulleung island was sounded, and citizens evacuated to raid shelters. The sirens eventually lifted at 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday. 

The launches came shortly after North Korea’s threats to utilize nuclear weapons and have the U.S. and South Korea “pay the most horrible price in history” if they were to take any action against Pyongyang. The hostile rhetoric is in response to ongoing large-scale South Korean and U. S. military drills.

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said North Korea’s missile test was an “effective territorial encroachment” and ordered that “a stern response be swiftly taken so that North Korea’s provocation pays a clear price.”

As a direct response, South Korea launched three air-to-surface missiles from fighter jets into waters north of the NLL at an equal distance to that which the North Korean missile had earlier landed south of the line, according to JCS.

“Our military’s precise strike showed our will to firmly respond to any North Korean provocations including short-range ballistic missiles, and our capability and readiness to precisely target the enemy.”

Japan’s Defense Ministry shared that North Korea also conducted another launch later on Wednesday, including a ballistic missile that fell into waters outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

“North Korea has rapidly escalated its provocations, launching more than a dozen missiles today alone and reportedly firing more than 100 artillery shells into the Japan sea since announcing an extremely provocative statement earlier in the day.”

According to CNN, no damage to aircraft or vessels has been confirmed as of right now.

The international response was swift. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that North Korea is launching missiles at an “unprecedentedly high frequency” and called for a National Security Council meeting to be held. 

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Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong tweeted about the rising tensions in the region.

“North Korea’s unprecedented launch of multiple ballistic missiles is recklessly threatening the security of the Republic of Korea. North Korea’s actions continue to undermine Indo-Pacific stability and violate multiple UNSC resolutions. Pyongyang must cease this action.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield condemned North Korea’s overnight missile launch.

“It’s unprecedented in the sense that there were so many this day, but they have been continuously launching missiles over the past year. And we have continued to condemn them because they break multiple Security Council resolutions.”

The UN’s nuclear watchdog also warned that North Korea could be gearing up for a nuclear test, breaking its five-year hiatus. Satellite imagery showed heightened activity at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site. 

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the agency has acknowledged North Korea’s preparation for a test.

“Everybody is holding its breath about this, because another nuclear test would be yet another confirmation of a program which is moving full steam ahead, in a way that is incredibly, incredibly concerning. Further tests, of course, means that they are refining the preparations and the construction of their arsenal. So we are following this very, very closely. We hope it doesn’t happen, but indications unfortunately go in another direction.”

war

Putin Declares Martial Law in Four Annexed Ukrainian Regions

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in four regions of Ukraine that Moscow annexed last month in a violation of international law. The order will allow authorities to impose curfews, imprison undocumented immigrants, establish checkpoints, detain people for up to 30 days and enforce other “security” measures.

Putin said his order will be effective starting Thursday. His decree gives law enforcement agencies three days to submit specific proposals to enforce the security plan. It also mandates the creation of territorial defense forces, a type of civilian militia, in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia, the four annexed regions Russia does not fully control.

“We are working to solve very difficult large-scale tasks to ensure Russia’s security and safe future, to protect our people. Those who are on the front lines or undergoing training at firing ranges and training centers should feel our support and know that they have our big, great country and unified people behind their back.”

The upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, promptly and unanimously confirmed Putin’s declaration. The decree will also bestow regional governors in areas of Russia with more power to “ensure security,” signaling more restrictive measures to come throughout Russia.

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The third paragraph of the martial law order states, “if necessary, other measures provided for by the Federal Constitutional Law of January 30, 2002, No. 1-FKZ ‘on martial law’ may be applied in the Russian Federation during the period of martial law.”

For the Russian people, this decree could impose restrictions on travel and public gatherings, suspend activities of political parties, public organizations and religious groups, tighten censorship, and strengthen the hold of law enforcement agencies on the population. Putin also wants to establish a coordination committee to increase communications and collaboration between government agencies as the country continues its violent invasion of Ukraine.

Putin has been dealing with growing unrest at home after the “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens to sustain what he still labels a “special military operation.” Protests have erupted all over Russia, and upward of 200,000 citizens have left the country to evade the draft. Military draft offices have been set on fire, and an anti-war sentiment is spreading inside Russian borders. According to a Russian official, authorities have tightened security around the offices due to the increased attacks.

As of Tuesday, around half of Russia’s regions had fulfilled their draft quota. Last Friday, Putin said he assumes “in two weeks all mobilizing measures will be over.”

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Mike Martin, a war studies visiting fellow at King’s College London, posted a series of tweets critiquing Putin’s decision to draft civilians.

“In reality, the mobilization was having greater effects on negative political stability at home than it was ever going to have in positive term (for the Russians) on the battlefield. And we’ve already seen some of those mobilized civilians dying on the battlefield in Ukraine … with no training … a criminal pointless waste of life.”

It is the first time the Kremlin has declared martial law since World War II.

On Wednesday, Putin also signed an order instituting wartime measures in regions bordering Ukraine, such as Crimea, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov and three others. The areas have been critical strategic locations for Russia’s assault on Ukraine but have come under Ukrainian fire in recent weeks.

The order will allow for economic mobilization in these regions, restricting movement in and out of the territories, temporarily resettling residents, tightening public order in critical facilities, and introducing a special mode of operating transport, energy facilities, and communication systems. Authorities will also be given control “over the operation of printing houses, computer centers and automated systems, and the use of their work for defense needs.”

Many of the provisions of the laws signed on Wednesday are nebulous, giving the state additional flexibility in enforcing additional measures.

missile

North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Over Japan, South Korea And US Respond 

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan early on Tuesday morning. South Korea and the US responded by conducting a joint strike package flight and precision bombing drill, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC News Tuesday. 

The Japanese government initially issued a “J-Alert” to citizens through its emergency warning system, telling residents to remain indoors in sturdy buildings or underground for safety. 

The government didn’t try to attempt to shoot the missile from North Korea down after determining it didn’t pose a threat, according to a spokesperson from Japan’s government. 

Residents in both Hokkaido and Aomori, and surrounding northern areas, were advised to report any debris sightings to police or fire officials immediately. 

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The last time North Korea flew a missile over Japan was in 2017, but this launch marks the seventh time that the nation has witnessed a missile from North Korea. 

Since January of this year, North Korea has shot 21 ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles, which is considered a record-breaking number of launches in a single year, according to reports from ABC. Tuesday’s launch was North Korea’s fifth missile test in a week. 

Japanese government chief spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno spoke with the media at a press conference where he warned citizens not to touch or pick up any debris. 

“We ask that people return to life as usual, calmly,” Matsuno emphasized. 

“No damage has been reported so far and a search is underway for debris. Officials are gathering information and will work with South Korea and the U.S.,” another spokesperson said. 

“North Korea’s actions threaten Japan and the international community. Missile launches like this go against the U.N. resolutions. Japan will launch a strong protest against North Korea in light of this. All new information will be shared promptly.”

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“The United States strongly condemns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) dangerous and reckless decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan,” The White House said in a statement Tuesday. 

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, spoke with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea about the launch as well, according to Adrienne Watson, a White House National Security Council spokesperson. 

“In both calls, the National Security Advisors consulted on appropriate and robust joint and international responses, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reinforced the United States’ ironclad commitments to the defense of Japan and the ROK [South Korea],” Watson explained. 

In response, Jaechun Kim, a professor in South Korea, stated that the US, Korea, and Japan need to “mobilize cooperation from like-minded countries in non-UN sanctions to thwart North Korea’s provocations.” 

“A unified front must be established that imposes sanctions on North Korea, as they did on Russia. This is the only way to penalize North Korea for its bad behavior.” 

“North Korea just does what it needs to do these days. So, with or without China’s support, it is quite likely for the North to conduct the 7th nuke test. It will be interesting to see whether Xi Jinping will throw his weight behind Kim Jong Un,” Kim said.

war

Bodies Found in Ukrainian Mass Grave Show Signs of Torture

Ukraine found a mass burial site of 440 graves Thursday in a forest on the outskirts of Izium. Soldiers made the discovery after retaking control of the Kharkiv region five months after its Russian occupation.

Most bodies showed signs of torture, and many had ropes tied around their necks and hands. Wooden crosses were erected atop some graves, each demarcated with only numbers and no names. One grave, marked by a cross, held the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers. Their hands were also bound, and their bodies indicated they were shot at close range.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky said that there is evidence that Russians “shot at the buried for fun.” The graves are the latest discovery in the campaign of violence against Ukrainian civilians during Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. President Zelensky said Saturday that “more than 10 torture chambers” were also found alongside the mass graves. The chambers contained tools for electrical torture.

Forensic workers are trying to determine what happened to the victims before death. One forensics worker,  Andreiy Vladimirovich Sergienko, shared with DW the effects of witnessing the scenes’ horrors.

“We then place the bodies in bags and transport them in a morgue. I feel horrible. This is a horrible moment in my life, and the first such experience in all of my five years of service.”

The United Nations announced Friday that they would send investigators to Izium to inspect the mass graves.

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According to war crimes prosecutors, most of the bodies were those of local residents. Prosecutor Voldymyr Lymar told DW that some of the bodies could be identified while others are in a later stage of decomposition and require further testing. Lymar spoke about the number of war crime cases that have been opened in Kharkiv alone.

“More than 4,000 criminal proceedings have already been opened regarding war crimes committed by servicemen of the Russian Federation. I will not tell you the exact number because it is constantly evolving: It increases by the minute.”

In March, officials found a similar mass grave site containing 116 bodies in Bucha after soldiers liberated the city from Russian control.

Amnesty International, an international nonprofit group that focuses on human rights, has documented several violations of International Law by the Russian forces. Among them are “unlawful attacks on civilians, residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, unlawful killing and other war crimes.”

The General Prosecutor Office of Ukraine opened 32,000 cases of Russia’s war crimes since the beginning of the occupation.

lockdown

China’s Zero-COVID Policy Causes Mass Food and Supply Shortages

China’s ongoing zero-Covid policy has caused a massive shortage of food and essential supplies for millions of people.

The country enacted its controversial zero-Covid policy to contain the virus’s spread, utilizing authoritarian methods for its enforcement, even in the case of a few infections within a population. Thirty regions spread across China are placed under full or partial lockdown.

Authorities have banned citizens from leaving or entering their cities to purchase essential supplies. In some regions, the government has resorted to drastic measures to prevent citizens from coming into close contact.

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People residing in Xinjiang, a subdistrict in Henan Province, have taken to social media platforms like Weibo to post about widespread food, medication and essential supply shortages. The subdistrict has been in lockdown for over a month, and posts show a grim story of being unable to access medical care or replenish supplies since supermarkets closed.

“It’s been 15 days, we are out of flour, rice, eggs. From days ago, we run out of milk for kids.”

Xinjiang has long been under scrutiny by the international community. A U.N. report accused China of mass “human rights violations” against its Muslim minority and Uyghur population.

Authorities are resorting to turning off elevators to prevent residents from leaving their buildings. According to BBC, authorities locked down 500,000 residents in the Guizhou province without warning.

In Chengdu, a city of 21 million people, residents were instructed to stay inside during a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. Videos surfaced online of people trying to exit their buildings, only to find police had locked the doors, trapping them inside. Only 156 cases of covid had been reported.

In Xi’an, a man died of a heart attack after being refused admission by hospital employees. A woman who was eight months pregnant and bleeding was turned away, resulting in a miscarriage.

A video of an Uyghur man pleading for assistance for his children, who had not eaten for three days, surfaced online. In Yining city, 300 people signed an online shared document requesting food, medicine and sanitary pads.

“I’m out of money to buy supplies. My wife is pregnant and we have two kids. We are running out of gas. My wife needs a medical check.”

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Chinese media outlets are accusing authorities of flooding social media with benign posts about Xinjiang in a campaign to drown out posts about living conditions.

The Independent reports that one media outlet published a leaked document from the government instructing censors to “open a campaign of comment flooding.” The order asks enforcers to post content about domestic life, parenting, cooking and personal status updates.

 “All internet commentary organizational work units must carry out comment flooding work at the relevant times … the time period in question is from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight.”

Users on the platform quickly recognized the propaganda comments and spoke out, ridiculing them, prompting the accounts to go private.

In May, the World Health Organization advised China to change its containment policy, warning that the policy was unsustainable knowing the virus’s behavior. The organization urged the country to consider such a stringent policy’s human rights concerns and economic cost.

police

One Suspect in Canadian Mass Stabbing Found Dead, Another Still At Large

A suspect behind a mass stabbing in Saskatchewan, Canada that left 10 people dead and 18 others wounded is still at large.

The spree attack on Sunday spanned through 13 crime scenes in the Indigenous community James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, a nearby village.

The incident is one of the country’s worst mass killings.

The police have identified two brothers, Damien Sanderson, 31 and Myles Sanderson, 30, as the suspected assailants. Damien was found dead on Monday, lying in a grassy area near a house that was being examined. His body was found not far from where the attacks were carried out.

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Saskatchewan’s RCMP commanding officer, Rhonda Blackmore, stated that Damien’s injuries are not believed to be self-inflicted at this time. The two brothers’ motives have yet to be determined.

“It appears that some of the victims may have been targeted, and some may be random. So to speak to a motive would be extremely difficult at this point in time.”

An extensive search is underway for Myles Sanderson, who has a lengthy criminal record. Myles was already wanted before Sunday’s stabbings for breaching his parole conditions. He is now formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and breaking and entering.

The brothers were believed to be last seen together in a black Nissan Rogue SUV in Regina, roughly 200 miles away from the location of the attacks. The discovery of the body is causing police to question their initial findings.

Myles may be wounded and there is a possibility that he may seek medical attention.

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Justin Trudeau addressed the nation on his Twitter page and called the attacks “horrific and heartbreaking.”

“Today and tomorrow, the flag on the Peace Tower will be flown at half-mast – in memory of those who lost their lives during yesterday’s attacks in Saskatchewan and in solidarity with everyone affected by this violence. All Canadians are there for you.”

The James Smith Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in the wake of the attack.

On Monday evening, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray acknowledged that a significant amount of time had passed since the alleged sightings. Bray told Regina residents that the “information that put him in our community is now well over a day old, and we have not had any new information to determine that it is no longer factual.”

Bray stated that law enforcement would continue to operate under the assumption that Myles is still in Regina until informed otherwise.

The police have notified the public that Myles is believed to be still armed and dangerous. Citizens are advised to stay in a secure location and to use caution while allowing others into their residences.

flood

As Floods Hit Pakistan, Millions Are In Search For Help

In over a decade, millions of Pakistanis are fighting for their lives and searching for aid as they are overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. 

Many authorities have claimed that this recent disaster and the scale of it could be considered a “serious climate catastrophe.”

With the recent flash flood on Friday, it destroyed at least 10 bridges, over a dozen buildings and killed nearly 75 people. 

“We’ve had to deploy the navy for the first time to operate in Indo-Pakistan, because much of it resembles a small ocean,” said Climate change minister Sherry Rehman.

The monsoon ended up affecting all four provinces of Pakistan. Almost a million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, numerous roads can no longer be traveled on and electricity outages are everywhere.

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These damages have affected at least 33 million people throughout the entire country. 

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the fatalities of this disaster have also continued to increase since mid-June up to at least 1,061 people and the fear continues to rise as more death follows.

“By the time this is over, we could well have one quarter or one third of Pakistan under water,” said Rehman. 

According to CNN, Foreign Minister Bilawal Butto-Zardari stated this past Sunday that this year’s monsoons in Pakistan have been “absoultely devastating.”

“I haven’t seen any destruction or devastation of this scale. I find it very difficult to put into words the phraseologies that we are used to, whether it’s monsoon rains or flooding, doesn’t quite seem to encapsulate the ongoing devastation and disaster that we are still witnessing.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has joined in to help for relief efforts by dropping off supplies via helicopter in areas that have been hard to reach either by boat or on foot.

“Visiting flood affected areas and meeting people. The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated. Times demand that we come together as one nation in support of our people facing this calamity. Let us rise above our differences and stand by our people who need us today,” Sharif recently tweeted.

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The International Rescue Committee profit group reached out on Monday and stated that more than 30 million people were in “urgent need” because of the monsoons. 

The United States and United Kingdom governments have stated that they will pledge around $1 million in emergency relief and that the first wave of foreign aid will start to come into Pakistan on Monday to help citizens find some relief from the disastrous floods.

ukraine

Ukraine Celebrates Their Independence Day With A Careful Look Towards Russia

This Wednesday, Ukraine celebrated their Independence Day which also marked the 31st anniversary of when the country voted to break off from the Soviet Union. 

This year, however, became more of a somber occasion. Officials around the Ukraine were attending memorials and issuing warnings that Moscow could potentially carry out missile attacks against cities within the Ukraine. 

In years past, this holiday would be marked with celebrations and parades. This year commemorated exactly six months after Russia’s invasion began.

President Volodymyr Zelensky started off the day with an address that spoke of the recent invasion as a new independence day where Ukraine had to fight for its freedom instead of simply voting for it.

“A new nation emerged on February 24 at 4 a.m. Not born, but reborn. A nation that didn’t cry, didn’t scream, didn’t get scared. Didn’t run away. Didn’t give up. Didn’t forget.” 

All across Ukraine, people paid tribute to the people who have been killed in the military ever since the invasion from Russia began.

The silent celebrations throughout Ukraine followed Zelensky’s warning that Russia may step up efforts to start attacks once again, including missile strikes. 

According to CNN, The US government joined Ukraine with concerns of the attacks and warned Americans visiting to leave the country immediately. 

Sadly, the expressed concerns appeared to have come true as Russia launched missile strikes all across Ukrainian territory.

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“In other major cities of Ukraine, even those which are far away from the battlefield, there have been explosions, there have been missile strikes,” said Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. 

Within these explosions, there has been at least 15 people killed and dozens more wounded from a Russian rocket strike. 

In a recent video, Zelensky said the rockets that were blasted from Russia hit a train and at least 4 of the carriages were on fire. 

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Many of the public celebrations for Ukraine’s independence day were canceled, but citizens showed their respect by wearing embroidered shirts similar to the national dress. 

Even through all the attacks, Ukraine is still uniting together to take a stand up against Russia. 

“Every new day is a new reason not to give up. Because, having gone through so much, we have no right not to reach the end. What is the end of the war for us? We used to say: Peace. Now we say: Victory,” said Zelensky.