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Russian attack kills at least 13 in Ukraine’s Chernihiv, officials say

Rescuers work at the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Chernihiv, Ukraine April 17, 2024.
Rescuers work at the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Chernihiv, Ukraine April 17, 2024. Photo : Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters

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A Russian missile attack killed at least 13 residents and damaged buildings and municipal infrastructure in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, local officials said.

As Russia continues to pound Ukrainian cities starved for air defence, the country’s top officials intensified pleas for international support, saying the devastation could have been avoided.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for determination and support from allies hours after the attack.

“This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defence equipment and if the world’s determination to counter Russian terror had been sufficient,” Zelenskiy said via the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine is facing a shortage of ammunition, with vital funding from the US blocked by Republicans in Congress for months and the EU failing to deliver munitions on time

Chernihiv’s acting mayor, Oleksandr Lomako, said three explosions ripped through a busy part of the city just after 9 am local time (0600 GMT), destroying a multi-story building.

“Unfortunately, Russia continues to engage in terrorist activity against the civilians and civilian infrastructure as confirmed by this strike on Chernihiv once again,” Lomako told Ukrainian TV.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said the attack killed at least 13 people and injured more than 60, in a statement on Telegram, as rescue operations continue.

The strike also damaged four multi-story buildings, a hospital, an education facility and dozens of private cars, he added in a statement on Telegram.

Russia carried out the attack with three Iskander cruise missiles, according to a comment from regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus to the Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne.

Injured civilians had been taken to hospitals around the city and the head of the regional hospital urged residents to donate blood on TV.

Unverified social media videos showed flames and columns of black smoke rising over the historic city, that lies about 150 km (95 miles) from the capital Kyiv. People ran from a bus to take cover. Emergency services and medics rushed to the site of the strike, officials said.

Russia, which denies targeting civilians, invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and has launched thousands of missiles and drones on Ukrainian cities and villages in attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians.

In recent weeks Russia has intensified its attacks on Ukrainian cities, targeting the country’s power sector and other critical infrastructure.

Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office, on Wednesday reiterated Kyiv’s plea for more air defence. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked Germany for providing an additional Patriot battery, urging other partners to follow suit.

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