Russia steps up bombardment in Kyiv

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Air raid sirens sounded across Kyiv on Saturday as Russia stepped up long-range bombardment of Ukrainian cities that has killed at least 34 people in the last three days and wounded scores.

Late on Friday, Russian missiles hit the central city of Dnipro, killing three people and wounding 15, regional Governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on Telegram. Rockets hit an industrial plant and a street next to it, he said. Footage on social media showed thick black smoke rising from the buildings and burning cars.

Eight people were killed and 13 injured in a string of shellings in 10 locations in the eastern region of Donetsk, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a television interview. On Thursday, Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea hit an office building in Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people about 200km southwest of Kyiv.

Kyiv said the strike killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens. The attacks were the latest in a series of Russian hits in recent weeks using long-range missiles on crowded buildings in cities far from the front, each killing dozens of people. In Vinnytsia, residents placed teddy bears and flowers at a makeshift memorial to those killed.

Among the dead was Liza, a four-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome, found in the debris next to a pram. Images of her pushing the same pram, posted by her mother on a blog less than two hours before the attack, quickly went viral. Her severely injured mother, Iryna Dmitrieva, was being kept in an information blackout at a hospital for fear that finding out about her daughter would kill her, doctors said.

“She is suffering from burns, chest injuries, abdominal injuries, liver and spleen injuries. We have stitched the organs together, the bones were crushed as if she went through a meat grinder,” said Oleksandr Fomin, chief doctor at the Vinnytsia Emergency Hospital. Were she told of her daughter’s death, “we would lose her”. Russia’s defence ministry has said the strike on Vinnytsia was directed at a building where top officials from Ukraine’s armed forces were meeting foreign arms suppliers.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian areas, despite mounting evidence that its missiles have hit residential areas across the country. The United Nations says thousands of civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24. Tens of thousands of combatants have also been killed.—Reuters

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