Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine on Friday evening, as the country braced itself for another string of intensified long-range missile strikes on cities and towns across the country.
At least 37 people have been killed in missile attacks since Thursday that appear to have targeted busy civilian areas and crowded buildings, a tactic Russia has repeatedly denied employing.
The attacks came as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that Russian society has been damaged for generations by the war.
Two people were killed amid heavy Russian shelling in the Ukrainian town of Nikopol on Saturday, the emergency services and regional governor said. Rescuers recovered the bodies of two people in the rubble.
The regional governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Valentyn Reznichenko, said Russian forces had fired 53 Grad rockets at the town.
Social media users shared footage said to show rockets flying, black smoke billowing from buildings and burning cars in the south-eastern city of Dnipro, the country’s fourth-largest city with more than 1 million inhabitants, where at least three people were killed and 15 injured after a missile attack late on Friday.
“The rockets hit an industrial plant and a busy street next to it,” Reznichenko said on his Facebook page.
The Russian defence ministry said on Saturday Russian armed forces had destroyed a factory in Dnipro that produced parts for Tochka-U ballistic missiles, and shot down three Ukrainian airplanes and two helicopters.
A Russian strike hit the north-east Ukrainian town of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv area overnight, killing three people including a woman of 70, and wounding three more, the regional governor said.
The strike damaged a residential block, a school and a shop, and rescuers were going through the rubble, governor Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram.
The governor of the central Ukrainian region of Poltava, Dmytro Lunin, confirmed explosions in Kremenchuk.
Another missile was launched over southern Ukrainian territory, according to Odesa military governor Maxim Marchenko. Details of any victims and destruction were not yet known.
Eight people were killed and 13 injured in the bombardment of 10 locations in the eastern part of Donetsk, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a television interview on Friday.
Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu ordered Russian military units operating in all areas of Ukraine to step up their operations to prevent strikes on eastern Ukraine and other territories under Russian control, the ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday.
It said Shoigu “gave the necessary instructions to further increase the actions of groups in all operational areas in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime launching massive rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbas and other regions”.
The death toll of Thursday’s missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people, rose to 24 on Saturday, after a woman died in hospital of burn wounds, a Ukrainian official said.
On Friday Russia claimed responsibility for the airstrike on Vinnytsia, far from the front in central Ukraine, which killed three children – a four-year-old girl named Liza Dmitrieva and two boys aged seven and eight.
The Russian defence ministry claimed Ukraine’s air force and “foreign weapons suppliers” were meeting in the building, which Kyiv has denied.
In a video speech on early Saturday, Zelenskiy said Ukraine would preserve “humanity and civilisation” and promised to rebuild destroyed educational institutions.
“But Russian society, with so many murderers and executioners, will remain crippled for generations – through its own fault.”
Zelenskiy once again appealed to Ukrainians not to ignore air raids alarms.
A top Ukrainian official has accused Russia of deliberately escalating its deadly attacks on civilian targets.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, told the Guardian that monitoring of Russian strikes suggested an increased emphasis in recent weeks on terrorising Ukraine’s civilian population. “That’s not my emotions but what our monitoring is telling us.”
July 16, 2022 at 06:47PM Jedidajah Otte