This content is not available in your region

Russia escalates missile attacks across Ukraine, killing and injuring dozens

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews  with Reuters
People walk past part of a rocket that sits wedged in the ground in Lysychansk, 19 May 2022
People walk past part of a rocket that sits wedged in the ground in Lysychansk, 19 May 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Leo Correa

At least eight Ukrainian civilians were killed and 21 wounded in a Russian bombardment on Monday while collecting water in the eastern city of Lysychansk, regional authorities said.

"Eight Lysychansk residents died, 21 people were taken to hospital, and five of them remained in Lysychansk after receiving medical treatment," Luhansk governor Sergiy Haidai stated on Telegram.

A boy born in 2007 was killed, while another one born in 2008 was among the wounded, Haidai said.

Claims that the Uragan-type rockets used in the attack contained cluster munition could not be independently confirmed.

Russian troops have been engaged in renewed fighting on Monday to capture Lysychansk, the last major city still held by Ukrainian troops in eastern Luhansk province.

It comes after Moscow-backed separatists said they were advancing on multiple fronts. 

Lysychansk's twin city of Sievierodonetsk, the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting since the beginning of the invasion in early February, fell to pro-Russian forces on Saturday.

On Monday morning the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said Russian forces were using artillery to try to cut off Lysychansk from the south. Russian assault aircraft struck near the city, the military added.

Local authorities have asked the residents to evacuate the city if possible. 

"Lysychansk, it was a horror, the last week," said Elena, said an elderly woman resident who was among dozens of evacuees who arrived in the Ukrainian-held town of Pokrovsk by bus from frontline areas. 

"I already told my husband if I die, please bury me behind the house," she added.

Ukraine needs modern air defence systems, Zelenskyy pleads

The strike on a line for water in Lysychansk was the latest in a string of missile attacks hitting civilian targets across Ukraine in what is seen as an escalation of the Kremlin's aggression in recent days.

Russian troops struck a shopping centre in Kremenchuk in the Poltava region with at least two missiles on Monday afternoon with over a thousand people inside, Ukrainian authorities claim. At least 11 people were killed, while some 50 were injured, according to the information available on Monday evening.

The attack was reminiscent of earlier strikes against civilian targets since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, such as the air bombardment of the Drama Theatre in the eastern port city of Mariupol in March, killing an estimated 600 of the people sheltering there.

Odesa regional administration spokesperson Serhiy Bratchuk said a missile strike in the Odesa region, in southern Ukraine, had destroyed residential buildings and caused a fire. Six people were injured including a child, he added.

The northeastern city of Kharkiv was also hit by a rocket attack which killed four people and wounded 19 according to the regional governor.

On Sunday, Kyiv was hit with a barrage of rockets, killing at least one civilian and injuring several after missiles struck the capital's residential area.

In reaction to the bombardment over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during the Sunday evening address that Ukraine needs a modern air defence system to deter Russian missiles. 

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned the missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping centre, saying that "the world was horrified" by the strike on a civilian target.

Sunday's attacks on the Ukrainian capital, the first in weeks, were also condemned by US President Joe Biden as "barbarism".

Washington is reportedly ready to announce it is providing an advanced surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine, as well as additional artillery support.