Russian missile attack on Zelenskyy’s hometown kills at least 10; dozens wounded
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missiles hit civilian buildings in a central Ukrainian city overnight, killing at least 10 people, regional officials said Tuesday as rescuers searched for at least one person still believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Kryvyi Rih mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said that the death toll had risen to at least 10. He said that one person is still believed to be trapped under the rubble and 28 were wounded.
The strike involving cruise missiles hit a five-story residential building, which was engulfed in fire, Gov. Serhiy Lysak of the Dnipropetrovsk region wrote on Telegram.
The devastation in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown is the latest bloodshed in Russia’s war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022, as Ukrainian forces are mounting counteroffensive operations using Western-supplied firepower to try to drive out the Russians.
Images from the scene relayed by Zelenskyy on his Telegram channel showed firefighters battling the blaze as pockets of fire poked through multiple broken windows of a building. Charred and damaged vehicles littered the nearby ground.
“More terrorist missiles,” he wrote. “Russian killers continue their war against residential buildings, ordinary cities and people.”
The aerial assault was the latest barrage of strikes by Russian forces that targeted various parts of Ukraine overnight.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was attacked with Iranian-made Shahed drones, and the surrounding region was shelled, local Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram. The shelling wounded two civilians in the town of Shevchenkove, southeast of Kharkiv.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, separately reported early Tuesday that the drone strike damaged a utilities business and a warehouse in the city’s northeast. Neither Terekhov nor Syniehubov referenced any casualties within Kharkiv.
Oleksandr Syrskyi wrote on Telegram that Russian forces are “losing positions on the flanks,” while Ukrainian troops were conducting “defensive” operations in the area.
For weeks, Ukrainian officials have been reporting small gains west of Bakhmut, which was largely devastated in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle before Moscow’s forces took control last month.
Over the last day in Ukrainian-held areas of Donetsk, nearly a dozen frontline towns and villages came under increased shelling as Ukrainian troops pushed forward, Zelenskyy’s office said.
Also Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry published a video showing what it said was a German-made Leopard 2 tank and U.S.-made Bradley fighting vehicle captured from Ukrainian forces. According to the ministry, the video was shot by Russian soldiers after fierce fighting in the southern Zaporizhzhia, and a soldier is seen pointing at the immobilized vehicles. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify the video’s authenticity.
Like the Bakhmut area, battle zones in Zaporizhzhia are one of several places along the roughly 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line where Ukrainian forces have been intensifying their counteroffensive operations.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed administration for parts of Zaporizhzhia that Russia controls, alleged that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had failed, and told state news agency RIA-Novosti that Ukrainian forces “continue to suffer colossal losses when they make new attempts to advance.” He did not elaborate, and his claims could not be immediately verified.
On Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said the country’s troops recaptured a total of seven villages spanning 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of eastern Ukraine over the past week — small successes in the early phases of a counteroffensive.
Russian officials didn’t confirm those Ukrainian gains, which were impossible to verify and could be reversed in the to-and-fro of war.
The advance amounted to only small bits of territory and underscored the difficulty of the battle ahead for Ukrainian forces, who will have to fight meter by meter to regain the roughly one-fifth of their country under Russian occupation.