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Zelenskyy fires more aides in a reshuffle as Russia launches drones and missiles across Ukraine

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed a longtime aide and several advisers on Saturday in a continuing reshuffle while Russia unleashed fresh attacks overnight.

Zelenskyy dismissed top aide Serhiy Shefir from his post of first assistant, where he had served since 2019. The Ukrainian president also let go three advisers, and two presidential representatives overseeing volunteer activities and soldiers’ rights.

No explanation was given immediately for the latest changes in a wide-reaching personnel shakeup over recent months. It included the dismissal on Tuesday of Oleksii Danilov, who served as secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, and Valerii Zaluzhnyi as head of the armed forces on Feb. 8. He was appointed Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom earlier this month.

Ukraine’s air force said Saturday that Russia launched 12 Shahed drones overnight, nine of which were shot down, and fired four missiles into eastern Ukraine.

Russia unleashed a barrage of 38 missiles, 75 airstrikes and 98 attacks from multiple rocket launchers over the last 24 hours, Ukraine’s armed forces said in social media posts.

Ukrainian energy company Centrenergo announced Saturday that the Zmiiv Thermal Power Plant, one of the largest thermal power plants in the eastern Kharkiv region, was completely destroyed following Russian shelling last week. Power outage schedules were still in place for around 120,000 people in the region, where 700,000 people had lost electricity after the plant was hit on March 22.

Russia has escalated its attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in recent days, causing significant damage in several regions.

Officials in the Poltava region said Saturday there had been “several hits” to an infrastructure facility, without specifying whether it was an energy facility.

Meanwhile, the toll of Friday’s mass barrage of 99 drones and missiles hitting regions across Ukraine came to light on Saturday, with local officials in the Kherson region on Saturday morning announcing the death of one civilian. A resident of the Dnipropetrovsk region died in a hospital from shell wounds, according to regional Gov. Serhiy Lisak.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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