Kyiv: Ukrainian authorities say Russian missiles hit a city in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 100 others. The Ukrainian president accused the attack of deliberately targeting civilians in locations of no military value. Officials said Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea hit civilian buildings in Vinnytsia, a city 268 kilometers southwest of Kyiv.
Vinnytsia regional governor Serhiy Borzov said Ukrainian air defenses shot down two of the four Russian missiles launched.
National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko said that so far only six bodies have been identified, while 39 people are still missing. Where are the three children among the dead.
Of the 65 people hospitalized, five are still in critical condition while 34 are seriously injured, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said.
“There is a building of a medical institution. When the first missile hit it, glass fell from my window,” said Vinnytsia resident Svitlana Kubas, 74 years old. And when the second wave hit, it was so jarring that my head was still buzzing. It tore through the outermost door, tearing it apart. it goes through holes. ”
In addition to hitting buildings, the rockets also set fire to 50 cars in a parking lot, officials said.
“These are pretty high-precision missiles… They know where they hit,” Borzov told the AP.
Russia has not officially confirmed the attack. But Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian state-controlled television network, said on her messaging app channel that military officials told her a building in Vinnytsia had been targeted because of it. It is home to Ukraine’s “Nazis”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of deliberately aiming missiles at civilians. The strike comes as government officials from around 40 countries meet in The Hague, Netherlands, to discuss coordinating the investigation and prosecution of potential war crimes in Ukraine.
“Every day Russia is destroying civilians, killing Ukrainian children, aiming missiles at civilian targets. Where there are no troops (target). What is it if not an overt act of terror? ” Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Moosystemrsky echoed Zelenskyy, calling the missile attack a “war crime” intended to intimidate Ukrainians while the country’s forces entrenched in the east.
The US Embassy in Kyiv issued a security alert late Thursday urging all US Citizens remaining in Ukraine to leave immediately.
The warning, apparently in response to the Vinnytsia attack, asserted that large gatherings and organized events “could be Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including its western region.”
Vinnytsia is one of Ukraine’s largest cities, with a pre-war population of 370,000. Thousands of people from eastern Ukraine, where Russia’s offensive is focused, have fled there since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Kateryna Popova said she saw many injured people lying on the street after the rocket hit. Popova fled Kharkiv in March seeking safety in “quiet” Vinnytsia. But the missile attack changed all that.
“We did not expect this. Now we feel like we don’t have a home again,” she said.
Borzov said 36 homes were damaged and people were evacuated while a 24-hour hotline was set up to provide information on those injured or missing. He said, July 14 will be considered a day of national mourning.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said the attack reflected previous attacks on residential areas that Moscow had carried out “to try to pressure Kyiv into making concessions.”
“Russia used similar tactics when attacking the Odesa, Kremenchuk, Chasiv Yar and other areas,” Zhdanov said.
“The Kremlin wants to show that it will continue to use unconventional methods of war and kill civilians to defy Kyiv and the entire international community.”
Before the missile hit Vinnytsia, the presidential office reported the deaths of five civilians and eight others injured in Russian attacks over the past day.
One person was injured when a rocket damaged several buildings in the southern city of Mykolaiv early Thursday. A rocket attack Wednesday killed at least five people in the city.
Russian forces also continued their artillery and missile attacks in eastern Ukraine, mainly in the Donetsk region, after passing through the adjacent Luhansk region.
The city of Lysychansk, the last major stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, fell to Russian forces earlier this month.
Luhansk and Donetsk together make up the Donbas, a Russian-speaking region dominated by steel mills, mines and other industries that support Ukraine’s economy.
Meanwhile, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko urged residents to evacuate “as quickly as possible”.
“We are calling on civilians to leave the area, where there is a shortage of electricity, water and gas after the Russian shelling,” Kyrylenko said in a televised address. “The hostilities are intensifying, and people should stop risking their lives and leave the area.”
On the front, the Russian and Ukrainian militaries are looking to replenish their dwindling drones to pinpoint enemy positions and guide artillery strikes.
Both sides are looking to purchase advanced, anti-jamming drones that could give a decisive advantage in battle. Ukrainian officials say the need for such technology is “huge” with crowdfunding efforts underway to raise the necessary cash.
In other developments:
– Officials planted by Russia in the Zaporizhzhia region, southeastern Ukraine, announced that they plan to hold a referendum in early September on the annexation of this region to Russia. Much of Zaporizhzhia is now under Russian control, as is most of the vicinity of Kherson. Kremlin-backed governments in both regions have announced their intention to become part of Russia. Separatist leaders in the self-proclaimed “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk have also announced similar plans.
– Russia’s parliamentary speaker visited separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, hours after Kremlin-installed officials in the south of the country announced they would hold a meeting. referendum on joining Russia. According to Russian news agencies, Vyacheslav Volodin spoke about the need for legal harmonization between Russia and the “Luhansk People’s Republic” in a speech to the territory’s self-proclaimed legislative assembly. He said Moscow and the separatists needed to “create a single legal sphere” in the areas of health care, education, public utilities and social protection.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed into law a bill banning the dissemination of information about Russian companies and individuals that could face international sanctions. The law prohibits the publication on the internet or the media “without written permission” of any information about transactions made or planned by Russian individuals or legal entities engaged in the activity. foreign economic activity. It also suspended for three years the mandatory disclosure of key financial and administrative information by large Russian state corporations.