Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Death Toll From Russian Attack in Eastern Ukraine Climbs to 9

Rescuers on Saturday continued to pick through the rubble of an apartment block in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk as the death toll from Russian strikes there a day earlier climbed to nine.

Russia sent a barrage of missiles into residential areas of the city on Friday, according to Ukrainian officials. The recovery of the body of a woman overnight brought the total death toll to nine, including a 2-year-old boy who had been rescued from a building but who later died in an ambulance. The head of the regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said that 21 others had been injured.

Five people were still believed to be trapped under the rubble as of Saturday morning, Vadym Lyakh, a local official, told the Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne.

Sloviansk is in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. It is about 34 miles west of cities seized by Russian forces over the summer, but it is within range of their artillery. It has been hit by Russian strikes so often that for months the Ukrainian authorities have urged civilians to evacuate. In all, 34 apartment buildings were damaged in the Friday barrage, along with an administrative building and shops, Mr. Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging app.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine noted that the attack had taken place on Good Friday, at the start of one of the Orthodox Church’s most important religious festivals.

“Another strike by terrorists,” Mr. Zelensky said in an overnight speech. “This is an evil state, and it will lose. To win is our duty to humanity.”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense made no reference to Sloviansk in a daily update on Friday.

The attacks on Sloviansk have come amid fierce fighting elsewhere in the Donetsk region. Moscow has focused much of its firepower on trying to seize control of Bakhmut, Marinka, Avdiivka and Lyman. On Saturday, Ukraine’s general staff said that its forces had repelled 56 attacks in the four centers of combat over the previous 24 hours.

In Bakhmut, which is about 25 miles southeast of Sloviansk, Russia has made incremental progress in recent days. Troops there are locked in fierce, block-by-block combat.

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