Ukraine says children under 21 were killed when Russia fired rockets at the central city of Vinnytsia in an “open act of terrorism”.
Kyiv, Ukraine — Russian missiles hit a city in the centerOn Thursday, 21 people were killed and about 90 others injured, Ukrainian authorities said. The country’s president called the attack “an open act of terrorism” against civilians in locations devoid of any military value.
Ukraine’s National Police said three rockets hit an office building and damaged nearby residential buildings in Vinnytsia, about 260 kilometers southwest of the capital Kyiv.
The missile impact started a fire that spread and engulfed 50 cars in an adjacent parking lot. Vinnytsia Region Governor Serhiy Borzov said Ukrainian air defense systems shot down another four missiles over the area.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi told news reporters in Vinnytsya that the strike killed 21 people and injured at least 91 others, 50 of them seriously. Three children were among the dead, he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy indicated that the attack was deliberately aimed at civilians. The strike came as government officials from some 40 countries met in The Hague to discuss coordinating efforts to investigate and prosecute potential war crimes in Ukraine.
“Every day Russia destroys civilians, kills Ukrainian children, directs rockets at civilian objects. Where there is no military (targets). What is this if not an open act of terrorism?” Zelenskyy wrote via the messaging app Telegram.
Speaking to CBS News senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov echoed Zelenskyy’s comments, calling the Vinnytsia strike “the closest proof that we’re at war again, not with a normal state, but with a war.” a war with a state of terrorists.”
“They are using their weapons against civilians, against civilian installations,” the defense chief told CBS News. “You saw thatTragedy, you saw the atrocities in it , and again you saw it in Vinnytsia.”
Russia has not officially confirmed the strike, but Margarita Simonyan, head of Russia’s state-controlled TV channel RT, said on her Telegram channel that military officials told her a building in Vinnytsia had been attacked because it housed it
Before the rockets hit Vinnytsia, the President’s Office reported the deaths of five civilians and wounding another eight in Russian attacks last day. One person was injured when a missile damaged several buildings in the southern city of Mykolaiv early Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said. At least five people were killed in a rocket attack in the city on Wednesday.
Russian forces also continued artillery and rocket attacks in eastern Ukraine, particularly in Donetsk province after overtaking neighboring Luhansk. The city of Lysyhansk, the last major stronghold of the Ukrainian resistanceat the beginning of the month.
Luhansk and Donetsk together form the Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking region with steel mills, mines and other industries.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko urged residents to evacuate as soon as possible.
“We call on the civilian population to leave the region where electricity, water and gas are in short supply after the Russian shelling,” Kyrylenko said in a televised address. “Fighting is intensifying and people should stop risking their lives and leave the region.”
Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that Russian forces had not made any major territorial gains in recent days despite continued shelling of the Donbass region.
“The aging Soviet-era vehicles, weaponry and tactics deployed by the Russian armed forces are not well suited to rapidly regaining momentum or building up unless deployed on an overwhelming scale – which Russia is not currently enjoying can bring,” said the UK Department.
Both the Russian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian military are trying to replenish their depleted stocks of unmanned aerial vehicles to locate enemy positions and direct artillery strikes.
Both sides are striving to acquire jam-resistant, advanced drones that could offer a distinct advantage in combat. Ukrainian officials say the demand for such technology is “immense” as crowdfunding efforts are underway to raise the necessary money for purchases.