Russia blames Ukraine for casualties in occupied Kherson

Moscow says air raid in Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka has killed seven people, while rescue operations continue in Chasiv Yar, hit by a Russian missile.

Rescuers work at a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in the town of Chasiv Yar
Rescuers work at a residential building damaged by a Russian military raid in the town of Chasiv Yar [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]
This story was revised to clarify that Valentina Popovichuk is a resident of Kharkiv.

At least seven people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an attack by Ukrainian armed forces in the Russian-held town of Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, according to Russian-backed officials.

Russian state news agency TASS said Monday’s attack caused an explosion at fertiliser warehouses that damaged surrounding buildings. Ukrainian officials said their forces had destroyed an ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka. Serhiy Bratchuk, an Odesa administration spokesman, wrote on his Telegram channel that Nova Kakhovka was now “minus” its ammunition warehouse.

“There are already seven dead for sure and about 60 wounded,” TASS quoted Vladimir Leontyev, head of the Russia-installed Kakhovka District military-civilian administration in the Kherson region.

“There are still many people under the rubble. The injured are being taken to the hospital, but many people are blocked in their apartments and houses,” Leontyev added.

Death toll rises in Chasiv Yar

Meanwhile, Ukrainian emergency services said the death toll from a weekend Russian rocket attack that hit an apartment block in the Donetsk town of Chasiv Yar rose to 33.

Nine people have been rescued so far.

One survivor who spoke to Reuters news agency and gave her name as Venera said she “was thrown into the bathroom, it was all chaos, I was in shock, all covered in blood”.

“By the time I left the bathroom, the room was full up of rubble, three floors fell down,” she said.

The attack on Chasiv Yar was part of Russia’s push to capture all of the industrial Donbas region in the east, partly controlled by separatist proxies since 2014, after declaring victory in Luhansk province earlier this month.

Military experts say Russia is using artillery barrages to pave the way for a renewed push for territory by ground forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he aims to hand control of Donbas to the separatists.

On Monday, at least three people were killed in Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv, according to the regional governor.

At least one strike hit a residential building in the city, where a column of flats collapsed into rubble.

“I saw lights, the headlights of rescuers and I started screaming, ‘I am alive, please get me out’,” survivor Valentina Popovichuk told Reuters.

She was asleep when her building was hit three or four times in the early morning. “The rescuers entered the hallway, knocked down the door and took me out,” she added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv on Monday that Moscow had “a big advantage in artillery”, and called on allies to provide additional military aid.

Ukraine says Russian forces have targeted civilians since they invaded on February 24, leaving cities, towns and villages in ruins. Moscow denies the charge.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies