Russia missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia kill 13

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Kyiv – A Russian missile attack early Sunday hit an apartment block and other residential buildings in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least 13 people and injuring 87 others, including 10 children, Ukrainian authorities said.

Meanwhile, rail services and partial road traffic resumed a day after a powerful explosion damaged a bridge linking Russia with Crimea, which is a key supply route for Moscow’s forces fighting in southern Ukraine and an imposing symbol of its annexation of the peninsula.

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Saturday’s explosion at the bridge over the Kerch Strait prompted cheerful messages from Ukrainian officials, but no claim of responsibility. Russia did not immediately assign blame for the blast, which footage showed blew away half of a section of the bridge’s roadway, with the other half still attached.

The pre-dawn shooting in Zaporizhzhia on Sunday was the second of its kind to hit the city in three days.

Russian planes fired at least 12 missiles, partially destroying a nine-story apartment block, leveling five other residential buildings and damaging many more, Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, told state television.

At least 13 people were killed and 87 others were injured, 60 of whom were hospitalized, regional authorities said. Among the injured were 10 children.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned the attack as “absolute evil” by people he called “savages and terrorists”, and vowed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

The city of Zaporizhzhia, about 52 km (30 miles) from a Russian-controlled nuclear power plant, has come under frequent shelling in recent weeks, killing 19 on Thursday.

Emergency workers and firefighters cordoned off the nine-story building and dug for survivors and victims among the smoldering debris of a massive central section that had collapsed.

The blast tore apart cars and left metal window frames, balconies and torn air conditioners dangling from the shrapnel-strewn facade of the building.

Most of the Zaporizhzhia region, including the nuclear power plant, has been under Russian control since the early days of the Russian invasion in February. The capital of the region, the city of Zaporizhzhia, remains under Ukrainian control.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said divers would begin work on Sunday to examine the damage to the Crimea bridge, and a more detailed survey above the waterline was expected to be complete by the end of the day, they inform national news agencies.

“The situation is manageable, it’s unpleasant, but not fatal,” Crimea’s Russian governor, Sergei Aksyonov, told reporters. “Of course, emotions have run high and there’s a healthy desire for revenge.”

Russia’s transport ministry said freight trains and long-distance passenger trains crossing the bridge were running according to Sunday’s schedule. Limited traffic resumed on Saturday around 10 hours after the explosion.

“Only passenger cars will use the road section of the Crimea bridge until a special order is issued. The railway line will operate normally. Buses of all types and heavy vehicles will be transported by ferry,” Aksyonov wrote in the Telegram messaging app.

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It was not yet clear whether Saturday’s explosion was a deliberate attack, but the damage to such a prominent structure came amid Russia’s battlefield defeats and could further cloud the Kremlin’s assurances that the conflict is over. will plan

Aksyonov said the peninsula had a month’s worth of fuel and more than two months’ worth of food. Russia’s defense ministry said on Saturday that its forces in southern Ukraine could be “fully supplied” through existing land and sea routes.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and the 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge linking the region to its transport network was opened with much fanfare four years later by President Vladimir Putin.

Kyiv is demanding that Russian forces leave the Black Sea peninsula, as well as the Ukrainian territory they occupied in the invasion that Putin launched in February.

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The bridge is an important artery for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and for the port of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based.

Russian officials said three people were killed in the Saturday morning explosion. On the upper level of the bridge, seven fuel tank cars from a 59-car train bound for the peninsula also caught fire.

Russia’s federal counterterrorism agency said Saturday that a freight truck exploded on the bridge’s roadway. He said two sections of the road bridge had partially collapsed, but the arch across the canal through which ships travel between the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov was undamaged.

(Reporting by Max Hunder, Jonathan Landay in Kyiv, Sergiy Chalyi in Zaporizhzhia and Reuters bureaus; Writing by Jonathan Landay and Frances Kerry; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Alex Richardson)



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