CHASIV YAR/KYIV, Ukraine–At least 15 people were killed and two dozen more are feared trapped after Russian Uragan rockets hit a five-story apartment block in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said on Sunday as rescuers picked their way through rubble.
Ukraine also reported clashes with Russian troops on fronts in the east and south, while Moscow said its forces struck Ukrainian army hangars storing U.S.-produced M777 howitzers, a type of artillery, near Kostyantynivka in Donetsk region.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo KYrylenko stated that the strike against the apartment building occurred on Saturday night in Chasiv Yar. The regional emergency service gave the death toll at 15 on Sunday afternoon, adding that 24 more people could still be under the rubble.
” We ran to the basement. There were three hits. The first was in the kitchen.” Ludmila, a local resident, said as she spoke as rescuers took a body out of a white sheet, and then cleared the rubble with a crane.
” The second was a surprise. We ran to the second door and into the basement. “We sat there until the morning,” another survivor named Venera said that she wanted to rescue her kittens.
” I was shoved into the bathroom. It was chaotic, and my body was covered in blood. She cried. The room had become so full of rubble that three floors were swept away, and I was unable to find the kittens. The kittens were not found under rubble .”
Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram that rescuers in Chasiv Yar had cleared nearly 99 tonnes of rubble from the site of the collapsed apartment block, and that rescue operations were still going on as of 4 p.m.
Andriy Ermak, Chief of Staff to President Volodymyr Zeleskiy stated in Telegram that this strike was “another terrorist act” and suggested that Russia be declared a state sponsor.
Russia claims it’s conducting a special military operation to demilitarize Ukraine but denies intentionally attacking civilians.
Luhansk, Donetsk are the Donbas. This is Ukraine’s east industrial area that has been Europe’s largest battlefield for decades. Russia is determined to seize control of Donbas for the separatists it backs.
Russia and the West consider Moscow’s invasion unprovoked acts of aggression.
The Russian military attacked Ukrainian forces near Sloviansk, Donetsk, but they were forced to retreat, the Ukrainian military stated. They also said that Russian forces launched a missile strike on Kharkiv, the northernmost city, from their border. The military did not provide details about the casualties or damage.
Luhansk region Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces were gathering in the area of the village of Bilohorivka, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Sloviansk.
” The enemy is… bombarding the surrounding settlements and carrying out air strike but is still unable occupy the whole Luhansk area quickly,” he stated on Telegram.
Russia seized control of all Luhansk Province last weekend.
Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had destroyed two hangars near the Donetsk town of Kostyantynivka holding the U.S.-made M777 howitzers, which it said had been used to shell residential areas of Donetsk.
Russian news agencies quoted separatist officials as saying on Sunday that Ukraine’s military had been shelling Donetsk using NATO-standard 155-mm artillery since the morning, wounding two residents.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield accounts.
Ukranian military spokespersons were unavailable for comment immediately.
In southern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces launched missiles and artillery against Russian positions, including ammunition depots, in the Chornobaivka region, according to the military command of Ukraine.
Ukraine was supported by Western military supplies, and harsh sanctions against Moscow to resist the invasion which began in February. 24.
But on Saturday, Canada announced that it would repair a turbine Russia’s Gazprom had used to provide natural gas to Germany.
Ukraine had claimed that returning to Russia would be in violation of sanctions against Russia. On Sunday, the foreign ministry said they were “deeply disappointed by Canada’s decision.”
The declaration, which was posted on the energy ministry’s website, urged the Canadian government not to make the same decision. It stated that the return of the turbine would mean that the sanctions against Moscow were being adjusted “to the wills and pleasures” .”
By Anna Voitenko and Max Hunder