Russian missile attack kills 15 in Donetsk housing block, says Ukraine

Russian missile attack kills 15 in Donetsk housing block, says Ukraine

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Fifteen people have been killed by a missile attack carried out by Russia on an apartment block in eastern Ukraine.

Six people were pulled out of the rubble on Sunday by emergency workers, and more than 20 people are believed to still be trapped.

The attack on Saturday night destroyed three buildings in a residential area of the town Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said about 24 people were feared to be still trapped, including a nine-year-old child.

Valerii, who gave only his first name to reporters, said he was desperately waiting to hear from his relatives that have been missing.

Rescue workers sift through the rubble to find people trapped under the ruins (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

His sister and nine-year-old nephew lived in the collapsed building and had not answered his calls since Saturday night.

He said: “Now I’m waiting for a miracle. We do not have good expectations, but I am avoiding such thoughts.”

One of the rescued people was a man who had been trapped under the bricks and concrete for 24 hours.

Emergency workers said that they had made contact with three other people that were still alive under the ruins.

A resident who only gave her name as Oksana to reporters said that she was “thrown to the ground” and the windows in her third-floor apartment smashed after an explosion.

The 45-year-old said: “My kitchen walls and balcony have completely vanished. I called my children to tell them I was alive.”

A sofa left standing in the aftermath of Russia’s attack on the apartment block (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Irina Shulimova, a 59-year-old retiree, said: “We didn’t hear any incoming sound, we just felt the impact.

“I ran to hide in the corridor with my dogs. Everyone I knew started calling me to find out what had happened. I was shaking like a leaf.”

Ukraine said that the blocks housed mainly people who worked in nearby factories, but Russia has denied targeting civilians.

Russia claims that the building was home for “Ukrainian militants” that it said were part of “nationalist units” of Ukraine’s military.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of intentionally targeting civilians.

Iryna Shulimova (left) said she ran to the safety of a corridor with her dogs during the attack (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address to Ukrainians: “Anyone who orders such strikes, everyone who carries them out in ordinary cities, in residential areas, kills absolutely consciously.

“After such hits, they won’t be able to say that they didn’t know or didn’t understand something.”

Donetsk governor Mr Kyrylenko said Chasiv Yar – a town of about 12,000 people – was hit by Uragan rockets fired from truck-borne systems.

But Viacheslav Boitsov, deputy chief of emergency service in the Donetsk Region, told the Associated Press that four shells hit the neighbourhood and they were likely Iskander missiles.

Chasiv Yar is 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of city Kramatorsk, a major target of Russian forces as they move towards the west.

The two regions Donetsk and Luhansk make up the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where separatist Moscow-backed rebels have fought Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Last week, Russia captured the city of Lysychansk, the last major stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Desk Team

Desk Team