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Ukraine war: Russia ‘targeting’ rescue workers, Patriot missiles in Poland, Moscow ‘foils’ attack

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Russia ‘foils’ Ukrainian drone attack

Russian air defences shot down two Ukrainian drones heading towards Moscow, Russian authorities said early Wednesday.

Ukrainian Emergency Service, rescuers work on the scene of a building damaged after Russian missile strikes in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023.

“Above the territory of the Moscow region, an attempted ‘Kyiv-led’ attack using unmanned aerial vehicles was foiled,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

There were no fatalities or damage, the ministry added.

Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian soil have multiplied in recent weeks, often targeting Moscow and the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Berlin offers Poland Patriot anti-missile systems

Germany said on Tuesday it had offered to extend the deployment of its Patriot missile defence systems in Poland, likely until the end of the year.

Berlin deployed three of the surface-to-air missile systems to eastern Poland in January after a Polish village was hit in late 2022 by an explosion, believed to be from a stray Ukrainian defensive missile.

This deployment was originally scheduled to last a maximum of six months. But the German Defense Ministry said it had offered Warsaw to keep these Patriot batteries “during the summer, and probably until the end of the year”.

However, it indicated there were no plans to extend beyond 2023.

Poland’s defence minister initially rejected the German offer, asking Berlin to send them to Ukraine instead to fight the Russian invasion, then agreed.

Germany, a major arms supplier to Kyiv, also sent a Patriot system to Ukraine.

‘Double tap’: Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting rescue workers

Ukrainian officials on Tuesday accused the Kremlin of deliberately attacking rescue workers by hitting residential buildings with two consecutive missiles — the first one to draw crews to the scene and the second one to wound or kill them.

Monday evening’s strikes in the eastern city of Pokrovsk killed nine people and wounded more than 80 others, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

One of those killed was an emergency official, according to Ukrainian authorities. Most of the wounded were police officers, emergency workers and soldiers who rushed to assist residents.

Since the start of the war, Russia has used artillery and missiles to hit targets and then struck the exact same spot around 30 minutes later, often hitting emergency teams responding to the first blast.

The tactic is called a “double tap” in military jargon. Russians used the same method in Syria’s civil war.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence claimed it hit a Ukrainian army command post in Pokrovsk.

Neither side’s claims could be independently verified.

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