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Russian missiles end weeks of relative quiet across the western half of Ukraine

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

More than 50 Russian missiles fell on cities across Ukraine over the weekend. The escalation ended weeks of relative quiet in the western half of Ukraine. NPR's Emily Feng is in Kyiv and reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR ALARM)

EMILY FENG, BYLINE: This is the aftermath of a Sunday missile attack on Kyiv when NPR visited - in the very same neighborhood Russia had already struck in late April the very day the United Nations secretary-general was visiting Kyiv. This one hit just as G-7 leaders, including President Biden, were meeting in Germany to discuss Russia's invasion and two days before a NATO summit.

VITALI KLITSCHKO: It's maybe symbolic, yeah, symbolic aggressions in - through these days (ph).

FENG: Kyiv's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, called the strike symbolic aggression. Republican Senator Jim Risch from Idaho was in Kyiv on Sunday to meet with Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who he said was unbowed by the Russian strikes.

JIM RISCH: All the Ukrainians I've talked to, from the president on down to ordinary Ukrainian people, they will fight in the street with broomsticks if they have to. But the - but Russia will not occupy this country.

FENG: Heavy Russian shelling has actually unified Ukraine to fight against Russia. And on Sunday, a Ukrainian government spokesperson, Anton Gerashchenko, used Russia's most recent strike to rally Ukrainians.

ANTON GERASHCHENKO: (Speaking Ukrainian).

FENG: He told NPR, if today were a weekday, all the children studying and playing here would have died. Putin is killing Ukrainian children and women. One man died in the Sunday strikes on Kyiv. Two more people were left dead in strikes in the northeastern city of Kharkiv - a grim reminder that even though the war is focused in the east of Ukraine, Russia can still strike anywhere, any time. Emily Feng, NPR News, Kyiv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Emily Feng is NPR's Beijing correspondent.