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11 killed in Russian strike on Ukraine city

Three Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Chernigiv on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian Emergency Service which released this image of rescue work
Three Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Chernigiv on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian Emergency Service which released this image of rescue work - Copyright AFP/File ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
Three Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Chernigiv on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian Emergency Service which released this image of rescue work - Copyright AFP/File ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
Ania TSOUKANOVA

A Russian strike on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernigiv Wednesday killed 11 people and 20 wounded more, as Kyiv again sounded the alarm over shortages in its air defence capabilities.

First responders searched for survivors in rubble, carrying away the wounded on stretchers as a pool of blood formed on the ground near the scene of the strikes, official images showed.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been urging allies to send more missiles to thwart Russian air attacks, said Ukraine had lacked sufficient air defences to intercept the three missiles that struck Chernigiv.

“There are still people under the rubble. The search and rescue operation continues,” Interior Minister Igor Klymenko wrote in a social media post announcing the latest toll.

A 25-year-old policewoman on sick leave at home was among those killed after suffering a severe shrapnel wound when the strikes rocked a densely populated area of the town, he added.

The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the beginning of Russia’s invasion but has been spared fierce fighting for around two years since Moscow’s army withdrew.

“Many multi-storey buildings were damaged,” the regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus said on state-run television. “Civilian infrastructure is damaged. Dozens of vehicles have been destroyed.”

– Zelensky criticises Western resolve –

Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack, in a post on social media.

But he added: “This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air-defence equipment and if the world’s determination to resist Russian terror had been sufficient.”

“The terror must be stopped,” the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Andriy Yermak, added in a post on social media. “Air and missile defence is what Ukraine needs right now.”

Their comments added to a growing chorus in Ukraine appealing to allied countries to supply. more sophisticated air-defence weapons to ward off the regular Russian strikes on key infrastructure.

Mayor Oleksandr Lomako told state media that the strike had ripped into a “very populated area”.

There had been a direct hit to an infrastructure facility and an eight-storey building had been badly damaged, but it was not linked to energy production, he added.

Chernigiv, which lies some 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, had a pre-war population of around 285,000 people.

The historical city is hundreds of the kilometres from the frontline but has occasionally been targeted in long-range Russian strikes.

In August last year, seven people were killed in a Russian missile attack on a theatre hosting an exhibition on drones.

Many buildings in the city were damaged when Russian tanks swept into Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022 and besieged the city until April that year.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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