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MOSCOW — Authorities in a region in southern Ukraine that has been annexed by Russia last month say that at least four civilians have been killed by Ukrainian shelling of a river crossing.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-installed regional administration in Kherson said four people were killed by a Ukrainian strike on a bridge over the Dnieper River in Kherson late Thursday. Vadim Ilmiyev, the top health official in Kherson, said 13 others were wounded in the attack.

Ukrainian military officials confirmed that the bridge was struck, but denied that the civilians were killed as they “cannot be on the bridge at this time because of a curfew,”

After Ukrainian strikes had made the bridge across the Dnieper in Kherson inoperable, Russian authorities organized ferry crossings and pontoon bridges to bring supplies to the city that sits on the western bank of the river and Russian troops in the area.

The strike comes as Ukrainian forces are pressing their offensive on the western bank of Kherson.



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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin appears to be “much softer and more open to negotiations” on ending the war in Ukraine than in the past.

“We are not without hope,” he said of the possibility of negotiations.

Erdogan made the comments late on Thursday on his return from a trip to Azerbaijan. Hurriyet newspaper and other media reported his comments on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Turkish leader, who has held meetings with Putin during the war, says he is optimistic that a U.N.- and Turkish-brokered deal that allowed the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to world markets can be extended.

Erdogan told a group of journalists that he had discussed extending the grain corridor deal with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“There is no obstacle concerning extending the shipping agreement,” Erdogan said. “But if there is a blockage there is no obstacle in us overcoming it.”


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