Rescuers hunt for survivors of missile strikes in Vinnytsia
VINNYTSIA, Ukraine — Rescuers with sniffer dogs combed through debris Friday looking for people missing after a Russian missile strikes a day earlier killed at least 23 people and wounded over 100 others in a central Ukrainian city.
Russian forces, meanwhile, pounded other sites in a relentless push to wrest territory from Ukraine and soften the morale of its leaders.
The missile strikes launched from a Russian submarine Thursday on the city of Vinnytsia, about 170 miles southwest of Kyiv, were the latest attacks to take civilian lives and fan international outrage since Russian President Vladimir Putin began the invasion on Feb. 24.
A 4-year-old girl was among three children killed.
“She was reaching for her daughter, and Liza was already dead,” the mother’s aunt, Tetiana Dmytrysyna, said Friday.
A video of Liza playing earlier in the day and a photo of her lifeless body have gone viral worldwide.
While Russia’s military campaign has been focusing on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, forces regularly also fire at other parts of the country.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Friday that Russian forces had conducted more than 17,000 strikes on civilian targets during the war, killing thousands of fighters and civilians and driving millions from their homes. The invasion has also rippled through the world economy by hiking prices and crimping exports of key Ukrainian and Russian products, such as grain, fuel and fertilizer.
More than 73 people — including four children — remained hospitalized and
18 people were missing after Thursday’s strike on Vinnytsia, said Oleksandr Kutovyi of the local emergency service. Search teams were poring over two sites Friday — an office building with a medical center and a concert hall near an outdoor recreation area.
Vinnytsia Gov. Serhiy Borzov said only 10 people among the dead had been identified.
“Russia deliberately hit civilians and all those responsible for the crime must be brought to account,” he said, denouncing the “barbaric behavior by Russia that tramples on international humanitarian law.”
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said three missiles were used.
“There is no answer to the question why yesterday, and why in Vinnytsia,” Tymoshenko said Friday. “We expect every second and minute that this could happen in any corner of Ukraine.”
Overall, Ukraine’s presidential office said Friday that 26 civilians were killed and 190 wounded by Russian shelling over the previous 24 hours. That included three other victims
in the Donetsk region, which along with neighboring Luhansk — a region nearly totally controlled by Russian forces — makes up the broader Donbas region.
As the fighting raged, Russia noted progress in talks on a possible deal to allow Ukraine to use the Black Sea to export millions of tons of grain that could help feed a world facing shortages and higher food prices.
Alluding to talks in Istanbul this week among Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said a final document had been prepared and that other participants had “largely supported” Russian proposals to help ease grain shipments through Ukrainian ports.
He said work on the “Black Sea initiative” was to be completed shortly to allow shipments of food “while excluding the use of those logistical chains for the deliveries of weapons and military equipment” to Ukraine. He also said the plan seeks to “prevent any provocations.”
About 22 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine because of the war.