After a Russian missile strike hit the town of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 23 people, rescue teams with sniffer dogs searched the debris again the following day, looking for missing persons.
More than 73 people, including four children, remained hospitalized and 18 people were missing after Thursday’s missile attack, Vinnytsia region emergency service spokesman Oleksandr Kutovyi said.
On Friday, search teams looked at two sites – an office building with a medical center inside and a concert hall near an outdoor recreation area and park, where mothers with children often walk around.
Vinnytsia Governor Serhiy Borzov said only 10 of the nearly two dozen people killed had been identified so far.
“Russia has deliberately struck civilians and all those responsible for the crime must be brought to justice,” he said, denouncing “Russia’s barbaric behavior which flouts international humanitarian law”.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said three missiles were used.
“There is no answer to the question why yesterday and why in Vinnytsia,” Tymoshenko said. “We expect every second and minute that this could happen in any corner of Ukraine.”
The Kalibr cruise missile strikes on Vinnytsia launched by a Russian submarine on Thursday are the latest incidents to claim civilian lives and stoke international outrage since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on February 24.
After the initial silence following the strikes on Vinnytsia, the Russian military said on Friday that its forces struck an officers’ club – a common nickname for concert halls officially owned by the military throughout the Soviet Union and the ‘Eastern Europe. Ukrainian authorities insisted the site had nothing to do with the military.
The situation in Donetsk is “worsening every day”
Meanwhile, Russian forces have pounded other sites in a laborious push to wrest territory from Ukraine and try to soften the unyielding morale of its leaders, civilians and troops as the war approaches five months.
The campaign now focuses on Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, but Russian forces also regularly fire at targets in many parts of the country.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said on Friday that Russian forces carried out more than 17,000 strikes against civilian targets during the war, driving millions from their homes, killing thousands of combatants and civilians and impacting on the world economy by raising prices and blocking exports of major Ukrainian and Russian products. products such as food, fuel and fertilizers.
Overall, Ukraine’s presidential office said 26 civilians had been killed and 190 others injured by Russian shelling in the past 24 hours. This included three other casualties in the Donetsk region, which together with the neighboring city of Lugansk – almost completely controlled by Russian forces – constitutes the wider Donbass region.
“The situation in the Donetsk region is getting worse every day and civilians have to leave because the Russian army is using scorched earth tactics,” Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
It appeared that the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk were next in line for Russian forces, but it was not at all clear when such a push might begin in earnest.
Elsewhere, authorities in Mykolaiv said there were at least 10 explosions in the southern city overnight, blaming Russian fire for hitting universities. Vitaliy Kim, the head of Mykolaiv’s military administration, posted a video of smoke rising above the strikes on social media.
Separately, Russian news agency Tass reported on Friday, citing Russian-backed separatists, that two civilians were killed and six others injured after Ukrainian forces allegedly shelled a bus terminal in the city’s Voroshilovyskiy district. from Donetsk.
Euronews could not independently verify these claims.