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Russia says it destroyed tank factory in Kiev

Russia used high-precision strikes to destroy an armored-vehicle manufacturing plant in Kiev and a military repair depot in the city of Nikolaev in southern Ukraine, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.

He added that 16 targets were hit overnight, including Ukrainian military units, weapons and ammunition depots, and radar facilities.

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Moscow warned that it would step up strikes on Kiev after accusing Ukraine of shelling Russian territory on Thursday. Kiev has denied launching attacks on Russian soil.

Russia confirmed on Thursday that the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the country’s Black Sea Fleet sank after a fire and detonation of ammunition onboard. Ukraine, however, claimed that it hit the Russian vessel with anti-ship missiles.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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