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Russia strikes cities from east to west Ukraine, starting fires and killing at least 2

KYIV, Ukraine -

Russian missiles pounded cities across Ukraine early Thursday morning, according to authorities, sparking fires, killing at least two people and trapping others under rubble, and Ukrainian ally Poland said it would stop providing weapons amid a trade dispute.

The early morning missile attack on what's known as the International Day of Peace was Russia's largest in over a month, and came amid the United Nations General Assembly summit in New York, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had denounced Russia as "a terrorist state."

Zelenskyy, who delivered a speech presenting a Ukrainian "peace formula," was to meet Thursday with President Joe Biden and congressional leaders in Washington with an additional $24 billion aid package hanging in the balance.

Poland, which has been a major supporter of Ukraine, said it would stop transferring its own weapons to its neighbour as it works to modernize its own military, but denied the decision was linked to a simmering dispute over a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the decision would not affect NATO and U.S. weapons transfers through Poland.

"We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will arm ourselves with the most modern weapons," he said in an interview on the private TV broadcaster Polsat News late Wednesday.

A dispute about whether Ukrainian grain should be allowed to enter the domestic markets of Poland and other European Union countries has pushed the tight relationship between Kyiv and Warsaw to its lowest point since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

Morawiecki stressed that Poland would defend its economic interests, but added that the dispute over grain imports would not hurt Ukraine's security.

"We are not going to risk the security of Ukraine," he said. Poland has transferred large amounts of its older weapons to Ukraine and has been upgrading its own inventory with new equipment purchased from South Korea and other countries.

In the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, near the front lines, two people were killed Thursday and at least five injured after a strike hit a residential building, said regional Governor Oleksand Prokudin.

Seven people were injured in Kyiv, including a 9-year-old girl, reported Mayor Vitalii Klitschko, and some residential and commercial buildings were damaged.

Marharyta Moldokova, 76, who had taken shelter on the floor of her Kyiv home just before hearing the explosion and sound of her window shattering, denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"God, we can't wait for someone to shoot him," she said. "Everything is not enough for him ... What does he need?"

The Ukrainian Air Force said it had intercepted 36 of 43 cruise missiles launched deep into Ukraine. Closer to the the front lines, Kherson was struck with S-300 missiles and Kharkiv was likely targeted with shorter-range weapons.

At least six strikes damaged civilian infrastructure in the Slobidskyi district of Kharkiv, said regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov. The city's mayor added that two people had been hospitalized.

At least 10 people were injured and at least one person was rescued from under rubble in Cherkasy, in central Ukraine, according to Ihor Klymenko, minister of internal affairs of Ukraine. Up to 23 people may still be buried under rubble after the morning strike, said Cherkasy regional Governor Ihor Taburets. Rescue services were working to clear the debris.

An industrial zone was hit in the western region of Lviv, damaging buildings and starting a fire, but no information on casualties was immediately available, Klymenko added.

Regional Governor Vitalii Koval reported strikes in the city of Rivne in the northwest region of the same name, without immediately providing details.

Russia's Ministry of Defence said 22 drones were taken down overnight by air defence systems, 19 above Russian-annexed Crimea and three others in the Kursk, Belgorod and Oryol regions near Ukraine. The defence ministry did not say whether there were any casualties.

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Associated Press journalist Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland contributed to this report.

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