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Protests erupt in Armenia after Russia troops ‘murdered local woman’

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Armenia: Activists protest outside Russian military base in Gyumri

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Protests outside a Russian military base in the town of Gyumri have led to scores of arrests amid calls for Armenia to leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-led defense bloc made of former Soviet states. Authorities reportedly detained dozens of Armenian nationalists who were members of a hard-line group for attempting to obstruct entrance to the Russian military base.

The protest in Gyumri activists from the group National-Democratic Pole (AZhB) called for Armenia to leave the CSTO and for Russian peacekeepers to be replaced with an international force.

AZhB supporters marched toward the military base with banners calling for the “de-occupation” of Armenia from Russia, while other branded slogans demanding the “de-Russification.”

It comes as the Russian military claimed Sunday to have carried out deadly missile strikes on barracks used by Ukrainian troops in retaliation for the deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers in a rocket attack a week ago. Ukrainian officials denied there were any casualties.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, in the eastern Donetsk region, killing 600 of them. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strikes were retaliation for Ukraine’s attack in Makiivka, in which at least 89 Russian soldiers died.

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Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s forces in the east, told The Associated Press that Russian strikes on Kramatorsk damaged only civilian infrastructure, adding: “The armed forces of Ukraine weren’t affected.”

The Donetsk regional administration said seven Russian missiles hit Kramatorsk and two more hit Kostyantynivka, without causing any casualties. It said an educational institution, an industrial facility and garages were damaged in Kramatorsk, and an industrial zone was hit in Kostyantynivka.

Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko said two school buildings and eight apartment houses were hit overnight. Photos he posted showed no indication that it had been an attack on the scale claimed by the Russians or that anyone had been in the buildings when they were struck.

“The world saw again these days that Russia lies even when it draws attention to the situation at the front with its own statements,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

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Also on Sunday, the Ukrainian military claimed to have hit a residential hall of a medical university in Rubizhne, a town in the Russian-occupied eastern Luhansk region, killing 14 Russian soldiers housed there. The number of wounded was unknown, it said.

Elsewhere in the east, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said one person was killed in strikes on Bakhmut, and eight others were wounded.

The battles for Bakhmut and the nearby town of Soledar remained among the bloodiest on the front, Zelenskyy said.

In the northeastern Kharkiv region, the town of Merefa was hit during the night, killing one person, and two other settlements in the region were shelled, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

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