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Explosion shakes Melitopol ahead of vote on joining Russia

A local official blamed Kyiv for the ‘terrorist act’

kyiv is behind an explosion that took place in the town of Melitopol on Friday morning, just as Moscow-controlled areas in southern Ukraine began voting on whether to officially join Russia, said a local official.

Melitopol is located in the Zaporozhye region, much of which is held by Russian forces.

A senior Russian-appointed official, Vladimir Rogov, said the culprits threw an explosive device out of a moving vehicle. The explosion, which occurred around 7 a.m., damaged a house. Rogov accused Ukraine of having “terrorist act”. 

The incident came as parts of Zaporozhye region and neighboring Kherson region hold a five-day referendum on secession from Ukraine and formal membership with Russia. Russian troops seized the land after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring country in February.

The People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) are simultaneously organizing their own referendums on integration into Russia.

Rogov previously said Ukraine was behind Thursday’s explosion near Melitopol’s main market, which injured six people. Ivan Fyodorov, a Ukrainian official responsible for Melitopol, accused local authorities of trying to entrap kyiv.

READ MORE: Several dead in the Ukrainian bombing of the Donetsk market

Also on Thursday, Ukrainian artillery hit a bus in Donetsk, killing six people, according to Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin. City officials later reported that seven civilians were killed and eight injured in the bombardment that day.

Ukraine, the United States and the EU rejected referendums as a “fake,” vowing not to recognize the results.

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