The Hamilton Spectator
Russia accused of strikes on apartments, killing civilians
Moscow’s forces launched exploding drones before dawn, killing seven
Russia stepped up its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine on Wednesday, killing students and other civilians, in a violent followup to duelling high-level diplomatic missions aimed at bringing peace after 13 months of war.
“Russia is shelling the city with bestial savagery,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegram post accompanying video showing what he said was a Russian missile striking a nine-storey apartment building on a busy road in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia. “Residential areas where ordinary people and children live are being fired at.”
At least one person was killed in the attack shown in the Zaporizhzhia video, apparently recorded by closed circuit TV cameras. Elsewhere, Moscow’s forces launched exploding drones before dawn, killing seven people in or near a student dormitory near Kyiv.
Ukrainian media showed several angles of the missile raining down on an apartment building across the street from a shopping mall in Zaporizhzhia, producing a huge plume of grey and black smoke, with bits of concrete flying into the air as cars whizzed by. Videos showed the violent outcome of the attack: charred apartments, flames and smoke billowing out of several floors of the buildings, and piles of broken concrete and shards of glass on the ground. Two children were among the wounded, said Zaporizhzhia City Council Secretary Anatolii Kurtiev, adding that 25 people needed hospital treatment, with three in critical condition.
Zaporizhzhia city is about 100 kilometres from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest which has come under threat during the war and has been shut down for months. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency reported the plant had suffered another loss of a backup external power source. Its six reactors still need power to cool nuclear fuel, and were relying on only a primary source Wednesday, the IAEA said.
Russia has denied targeting residential areas even though artillery and rocket strikes hit apartment buildings and civilian infrastructure daily. Russian officials have blamed Ukrainian air defences for some of the deadliest strikes on apartments, saying the deployment of air defence systems in residential areas puts civilians at risk. Russia sometimes also claims Ukraine is hiding military equipment and personnel in civilian buildings.
The war, which Russia started Feb. 24, 2022, has evolved in two main directions: a front line mainly in eastern Ukraine, centred around the city of Bakhmut, and periodic Russian missile and drone strikes nationwide. In addition, periodic — although unconfirmed — Ukrainian sabotage attacks have been launched across the border into Russia. The front-line fighting largely stalemated over the winter, with expectations of major offensives by both sides expected in more favourable spring weather.
‘‘ Russia is shelling the city with bestial savagery. Residential areas where ordinary people and children live are being fired at.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT