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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

The Russian headquarters in Melitopol in southern Ukraine were attacked and destroyed on Thursday, according to the city’s mayor.

Melitopol has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion.

“The enemy headquarters was destroyed yesterday, where the FSB special forces personnel were located; there are killed and wounded,” Ivan Fedorov said in a briefing.

“There was a barracks and equipment. It was one of the hardest targets in terms of reaching it, in terms of the air defense and the location.”

It has been extremely difficult for civilians to leave the city, Fedorov added.

“Today 150 to 200 people per day leave through Vasylivka (the only available route from occupied territory to Ukrainian-held areas) compared to 1,000 people as it was.”

“To leave Melitopol you need to submit an application, which is considered within a month term. There is a leaving route through Crimea, which takes 3 to 5 days.”

Some children are being taken from occupied areas to Crimea and parts of Russia, Fedorov claimed. He said some 300 children had been removed so far.

“(School children in Melitopol) are not allowed to go outside during breaks between lessons. Children are being forced to study Russian history, sing the Russian anthem and other patriotic songs.”

A shortage of medicines, high prices in pharmacies and unemployment meant that life had become difficult for civilians in the city, according to Fedorov.

“Lots of Melitopol residents are jobless so they are trying to leave.”

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