Russian air strikes killed three civilians in eastern Ukraine on Monday, two in the Donetsk region and one in a village outside of Kharkiv.

The head of the Donetsk region, which Moscow has mostly occupied since late 2022, said two people were killed and another wounded by Russian attacks on the village of Mykhaylivka.

“A 12-year-old boy is among the dead,” the official, Vadim Filashkin, stated on social media. Following Moscow’s usual modus operandi, there were two aerial attacks, 30 minutes apart, targeting a residential area and destroying civilian homes.

Russian missiles also rained down on the village of Slobozhanske, just southeast of Ukraine’s second-largest city, at around midnight local time, Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

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“Houses were damaged. One man died. Another man and a woman were wounded,” Synehubov wrote in an online statement.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) said that Russia had launched at least 10 drone attacks from the Belgorod border region, a Russian target that was recently green-lighted by the US administration for counterattacks using US-made weapons.

The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Monday that Ukrainian attack drones killed a car driver and injured another driver in border villages, where Moscow has mounted an offensive in recent weeks and claims to have conquered several villages.

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Separately, the Moscow-installed head of the Donetsk region, Denis Pushilin, said that Ukrainian artillery fire on the occupied town of Horlivka killed one civilian woman.

Harris will appear at the Swiss Peace Summit while Biden hits campaign stop, then G7

Putting an end to Ukrainian speculation about whether the US president would appear at the Peace Summit hosted by Switzerland next week, Washington announced on Monday that Vice President Kamala Harris would appear instead, as President Joe Biden will go to a scheduled campaign fundraiser in California on those dates, with headliner George Clooney, and then fly to Italy for the G7 summit.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky had been pushing for Biden to attend the summit, saying it would send a message of “personally applauding Putin” if he didn’t, even after the US approved a $61 billion military aid package to Kyiv and the White House green-lighted attacks on Russian soil using American-made weapons.

Recently, Zelensky has been accusing China of trying to keep other countries from attending. So far, at least 100 nations have accepted the invitation.

“The vice president will reaffirm support for the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression,” Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen said in a statement. She will “underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s effort to secure a just and lasting peace.” 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will join Harris as part of the US delegation at the talks outside Lucerne.

Biden, instead, on those dates will attend a fundraiser in Southern California, attended by a host of Hollywood A-listers and traditionally one of the more lucrative stops on his presidential campaign to fend off his opponent, Donald Trump.

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On Monday, National Security Council spokesperson Adm. John Kirby described Harris and Sullivan as being “high-level, very serious representation by the United States.”

Italy plans to shift a SAMP/T missile system from Kuwait to Ukraine

Italian media reported on Monday that Italy will supply Ukraine with a second SAMP/T air defense system in response to Zelensky’s regular requests to help it defend itself from Russian missile attacks, in the country’s northeast, especially. The Italian system is currently deployed to Kuwait.

Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera reported on Monday that the air defense system will be supplied within Italy’s eighth military aid package for Ukraine, slated to be approved by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government shortly following the G7 summit in the Italian region of Puglia in the middle of this month.

The Corriere reported that the Italian armed forces have only five of these systems at their disposal.

The French-Italian-made system is capable of tracking dozens of targets and intercepting ten at a time. It is also the only EU-produced system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

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Moscow meanwhile makes marginal gains near Vovchansk and Avdiivka battlegrounds

According to observations from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia’s armed forces have recently “marginally” advanced northwest of Avdiivka and continued offensive operations near that captured industrial hub over the weekend and beyond.

On the northeastern front, fighting continues along the border where the Kremlin has claimed several captured villages, and Russians seem to be gaining the upper hand outside of Vovchansk.

Geolocated footage published on Sunday seems to show that Russian forces marginally advanced in a field west of Solovyove (northwest of Avdiivka), while Russian bloggers “made different claims about the extent of Russian advances near Sokil (immediately northwest of Solovyove), with some claiming that Russian forces advanced 1-1.5 kilometers near the settlement while other milbloggers claimed that fighting occurred on the outskirts of Sokil,” the ISW reported.

Further north, weary Russian troops have made incremental gains southwest of Vovchansk (northeast of Kharkiv) amid continued fighting northeast of the city.

Geolocated footage also published on Sunday appears to show that Russian forces recently advanced marginally  in the fields north and east of Starytsya (southwest of Vovchansk and northeast of Kharkiv) during a mechanized assault on the settlement and in the forested areas between Hlyboke and Lukyantsi (both north of the city of Kharkiv).

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