(Chassiv Iar) Russian forces continued to bombard eastern Ukraine on Sunday, killing at least 15 people in a strike that ripped open a residential building in Chassiv Iar, according to Ukrainian authorities.
Posted at 7:46 am
Updated at 9:44 am
The strike took place at night in this small town of about 12,000 people. According to the emergency services, 24 people remain under the rubble, including a child, while five others were rescued from the rubble.
The four-storey building was hit by a Russian Hurricane missile, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, which the Russian army wants to capture, said on Telegram.
AFP journalists who arrived on the scene after the strike saw the partially collapsed building, rescue workers and an excavator working to clear the area.
“I was in the bedroom, I came out and everything started shaking, falling apart. What saved me was the wave of the blast that threw me bloody into the toilets,” testified a resident interviewed by AFP, who declined to give her name.
At least 591 civilians have been killed and 1,548 others injured in the Donetsk region since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, according to Kyrylenko. On Friday he said Moscow was preparing “new actions” in the east.
Deliberately targeted “civilian goals”
The Russian army, which announced in early July that it had taken control of the Luhansk region, is now targeting Donetsk to seize the entire Donbass mine basin.
It has been partially controlled since 2014 by separatists backed by Moscow following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
“The brutal Russian artillery attacks don’t stop for a day, Sloviansk, Bakhmout, Avdiivka…”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj condemned on Saturday evening and again called for “modern and powerful” weapons for self-defense.
Mr Zelensky accused Moscow of “deliberately attacking humble houses, civilian objects and people. There are victims, dead, injured.
For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry, in a statement Saturday night, accused the Ukrainians of stationing men and weapons in schools and civilian buildings in several locations in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.
Several Ukrainian officials have also accused Russian forces of using their fire to set fires in the fields to destroy crops.
At the same time, the authorities installed by Russia in Kharkiv indicated that “the harvest campaign [de blé, NDLR] started in the liberated areas of the region,” according to Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency.
For weeks, Ukraine has been accusing Russia of stealing its wheat harvest in the occupied territories in order to resell it illegally on the international market.
As on the previous day, the staff of the Ukrainian army reported many Russian bombardments on Sunday, but almost no ground attacks by Moscow forces.
Kyiv, for its part, asserted that it had targeted two “command posts” and Russian depots in the Chornobaivka region (south). Ukrainian forces also claimed responsibility, without further details, for an attack on a Russian base in the occupied Kherson region (south).
In Kharkiv (north-east), the country’s second-largest city, Governor Oleg Synegoubov reported on Telegram that a new rocket fire hit an “educational institution” and a house, injuring one person.
More Russian strikes are reported in particular near Siversk and Sloviansk (east) and in the Mykolaiv region (south).
“High-precision ground weapons hit a temporary deployment point of the artillery unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an ammunition depot on the territory of the ceramics factory in the city of Sloviansk,” the Russian army statement said. “Up to 100 people” were killed and “more than 1,000 artillery shells for US-made M777 howitzers and about 700 rockets for Grad MLRS” were destroyed, she added.
The “ambassador” of the separatist republic of Luhansk in Moscow, Rodion Mirochnik, said on Telegram on Sunday morning that in the Donetsk region an offensive “was launched against Siversk from the north” and the village of Grygorivka “was captured after fighting”.
“Our troops continue to conduct military operations to liberate Serebrianka,” added another location in the region.