After a Russian missile strike struck the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Thursday, killing at least 23 people, rescue teams with sniffer dogs still combed through debris the next day, looking for missing people.
More than 73 people — including four children — remained hospitalised, and 18 people were missing after Thursday’s missile strike, said the spokesman for the emergency service in the Vinnytsia region Oleksandr Kutovyi.
Search teams were poring over two sites on Friday — an office building with a medical centre inside, and a concert hall near an outdoor recreation area and park, where mothers with children often stroll.
Vinnytsia Governor Serhiy Borzov said only 10 people among the nearly two dozen killed had been identified so far.
“Russia deliberately hit civilians and all those responsible for the crime must be brought to account,” he said, denouncing the “barbaric behavior by Russia that tramples on international humanitarian law.”
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a 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 were the latest incidents to take civilian lives and fan international outrage since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on 24 February.
After initial silence after the strikes on Vinnytsia, the Russian military said Friday its forces had struck an officers’ club — a common moniker for concert halls formally owned by the military throughout the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. Ukrainian authorities insisted the site had nothing to do with the military.
Situation in Donetsk ‘exacerbating every day’
Russian forces, meanwhile, pounded other sites in a painstaking push to wrest territory from Ukraine and try to soften the unbending morale of its leaders, civilians and troops as the war nears the five-month mark.
The campaign now has been focussing on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, but Russian forces regularly fire upon targets in many parts of the country too.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry claimed Friday that Russian forces had conducted more than 17,000 strikes on civilian targets during the war, driving millions from their homes, killing thousands of fighters and civilians and rippling through the world economy by hiking prices and crimping exports of key Ukrainian and Russian products like foodstuffs, fuel and fertiliser.
Overall, Ukraine’s presidential office said 26 civilians had been killed and another 190 were wounded by Russian shelling over the past 24 hours. That included three other victims in the Donetsk region, which along with neighbouring Luhansk — nearly totally controlled by Russian forces — makes up the broader Donbas region.
“The situation in the Donetsk region is exacerbating every day, and civilians must 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 wasn’t at all clear how soon such a push could begin in earnest.
Elsewhere, authorities in Mykolayiv said there were at least 10 explosions in the southern city overnight, accusing Russian fire of hitting universities. Vitaliy Kim, the head of Mykolaiv’s military administration, posted on social media a video of smoke rising over the strikes.
Separately, the Russian news agency Tass reported Friday, citing Russian-backed separatists, that two civilians were killed and six others were injured after Ukrainian forces allegedly shelled a bus terminal in the Voroshilovsky district of the city of Donetsk.
Euronews could not independently verify these claims.