Ukraine war: Russian missile strike kills 23
Ukrainian officials have denounced the Russian missile strike on Vinnytsia, a city far behind the frontlines, which Kyiv said killed at least 23 people.
Ukraine said Thursday’s strike on Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of the capital Kyiv, had been carried out with Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called Russia a “terrorist” state, urged more sanctions against the Kremlin and said the death toll in Vinnytsia could rise.
“Unfortunately, this is not the final number. Debris clearance continues. Dozens of people are reported missing. There are seriously injured (people) among those hospitalised,” he said in a video address.
Zelenskiy told an international conference aimed at prosecuting war crimes in Ukraine that the attack had been mounted on “an ordinary, peaceful city”.
“No other state in the world poses such a terrorist threat as Russia,” Zelenskiy said.
Russia reiterated that it does not target civilians in what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, and said its attack struck a military training facility.
Vinnytsia hosts the command headquarters of the Ukrainian Air Force, according to an official Ukrainian military website, a target which Russia used cruise missiles to try to hit in March, the Ukrainian air force said at the time.
Ukraine’s state emergency service said three children, including a 4-year-old girl named Lisa, were killed in Thursday’s attack. Another 71 people were hospitalised and 29 others were missing.
The Kremlin has said that Russia is ready to halt what the West calls Moscow’s unprovoked war of aggression if Kyiv agrees to its conditions, including formally recognising Russia’s control of Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and the independence of two self-proclaimed Russian-backed statelets in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has repeatedly said it is unwilling to concede any territory and will take back any land lost by force.
The eastern Ukrainian town of Popasna which fell to Russian forces two months ago is now a ghost town with little sign of life.
A Reuters reporter who visited the town on Thursday found it almost deserted, with nearly all apartment buildings destroyed or heavily damaged.
Former resident Vladimir Odarchenko stood inside his damaged home and surveyed the debris strewn across the floor.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do. Where to live? I don’t know,” he said.