Russia vows to expand missile strikes on Ukraine's capital

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Russia vows to expand missile strikes on Ukraine's capital

This photo shows the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2022. EMILIO MORENATTI AP MOSCOW - Russia will expand its missile strikes on Kyiv in response to any Ukrainian forces' attacks or sabotage on Russian territory, the country's defense ministry said Friday.

Russian troops and the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic have taken control of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in the city of Mariupol as a result of a successful offensive, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a daily briefing.

He said Russian forces fired high-precision sea-based Kalibr missiles to strike a military facility on the outskirts of Kiev.

READ MORE: Putin eyes the south, east as Russian energy supplies to the west wane.

According to the ministry, Russian forces destroyed 132 aircraft, 105 helicopters, 245 anti-aircraft missile systems, 456 unmanned aerial vehicles, 2,213 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 249 multiple rocket launchers, 966 field artillery and mortars, and 2,110 units of special military vehicles of the Ukrainian forces.

Russia expelled 18 European Union diplomats on Friday in a retaliatory move, the country's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that the EU had summoned head of the EU DelegationEU Delegation to Russia Markus Ederer in a protest over the decision to declare 19 Russian diplomats non gratae earlier this month.

The ministry said that 18 employees at the EU DelegationEU Delegation to Russia have been declared ''personae non gratae' and will have to leave the territory of the Russian Federation in the near future due to the hostile actions of the European Union.