A Ukrainian city far from the front lines mourns those killed in a missile strike, including a four-year-old girl, as Russian bombing continues to hit cities across the country.
Ukraine said Thursday’s attack on an office building in Vinnitsa, a city of 370,000 people about 200km southwest of Kyiv, was carried out by Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea.
According to Kyiv, at least 23 people were killed in the attack, and dozens were injured.
According to the center’s owner, rockets destroyed a nearby medical center and several people who had arrived for treatment were burned to death in their cars on the street.
Two doctors were seriously injured.
The attack was the latest in a series of Russian long-range missile strikes in recent weeks against crowded buildings in cities far from the front lines, each killing dozens of people.
Late Friday, Russian rockets hit downtown Dnipro, killing three people and injuring 15, Governor Valentin Reznichenko said on social media.
Eight people were killed and 13 were injured as a result of a series of shelling in 10 settlements in the east of the Donetsk region, regional governor Pavel Kirilenko said in a television interview.
“Now, when I am writing this appeal, almost the entire territory of our state is under air raid alert. There is preliminary information about the hits – Dnipro, Kremenchuk, Kyiv region,” President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Telegram message.
Memorial to the dead
In Vinnitsa, residents laid teddy bears and flowers at a makeshift memorial to those who died on Thursday.
Among the dead was Lisa, a four-year-old girl with Down syndrome, found in the wreckage next to a pram. Photos of her pushing the same stroller, posted by her mother on a blog less than two hours before the attack, quickly went viral.
According to doctors, her seriously injured mother, Irina Dmitrieva, was kept on information block in the hospital, fearing that information about her daughter would kill her.
“She has burns, chest injuries, abdominal injuries, liver and spleen injuries. We sewed the organs together, the bones were crushed, as if she had gone through a meat grinder, ”Alexander Fomin, head physician of the Vinnytsia Emergency Hospital. said.
If she had been told of her daughter’s death, “we would have lost her,” he added.
The building housed an officers’ club, which the Russian defense ministry said was used for meetings between the military and foreign arms suppliers.
Ukraine stated that the club functioned as a cultural center. The building also housed shops, commercial offices, and a concert hall where the musicians rehearsed for that night’s pop concert.
Authorities in the southern city of Nikolayev, closer to the front line, also reported more strikes on Friday, injuring at least two people.
Despite the bloodshed, both sides reported progress towards an agreement to lift the blockade restricting Ukrainian grain exports.
Intermediary Turkey said the deal could be signed next week.
The Russian Defense Ministry said an agreement was close, but a Moscow spokesman warned that the grain deal would not lead to a resumption of peace talks.
The deal is likely to include ship inspections to make sure Ukraine doesn’t import weapons and guarantees from Western countries to keep Russia’s food exports out of sanctions.
Moscow welcomed Washington’s written clarification on Thursday that banks, insurers and shippers would not face sanctions for facilitating shipments of Russian grain and fertilizer.
The intensified Russian attacks on cities far from the front line come at a time when momentum seems to be changing after weeks of Moscow’s advances.
After capturing the eastern industrial cities of Severodonetsk and Lisichansk in battles that killed thousands of soldiers on both sides, Russia paused.
The Ukrainian general said that “not a meter” of territory had been lost in a week.
Ukraine says it is preparing a counterattack to recapture part of its southern territory off the Black Sea coast.