At least 43 hurt after Russian attack on small Ukrainian town

Twelve children, including two babies, among the injured as residents of Pervomaiskyi in northeast express shock at events.

An injured woman being taken away on a stretcher after a missile hit a residential area in Pervomaiskyi. She is gesturing to another person.
An injured woman is taken away on a stretcher by paramedics [Stringer/Reuters]

Ukrainian officials said at least 43 people, including 12 children, were injured after a Russian attack on the small town of Pervomaiskyi in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Television footage showed black smoke billowing from a block of tall flats with cars in flames nearby, while Andriy Yermak, the head of Kyiv’s presidential office, shared images from the town of burned and destroyed cars.

Regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said the attack happened at about 1.35pm Kyiv time (10:35 GMT) on Tuesday.

Pervomaiskyi is home to about 28,000 people and is relatively far from the front lines.

“I only remember that when the explosion sounded, we were thrown up into the air,” a local, who gave her name only as Alla, said on the street as she hugged her granddaughter. “Then we continued walking, we saw blown out windows everywhere, I saw cars on fire. I just can’t get a grip of myself, my legs are still shaking.”

Syniehubov said the youngest of the injured was a three-month-old baby. The child’s condition was not immediately clear. Another baby was also hurt. Both were among dozens taken to hospital.

Burned cars are seen at a site of a Russian military strike in the town of Pervomaiskyi
Burned-out cars from the Russian attack, which triggered fires and blew out windows in nearby apartment buildings [Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Reuters]

Some said the attack was linked to a military funeral that was taking place in the town.

Major Maksym Zhorin, a former commander of a fighting unit known as the Azov battalion that is now part of the Ukrainian army, said about 100 people had gathered for the funeral of Oleh Fadeenko, a soldier with the call-sign Baby who he said had been killed in fighting near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

“They targeted the site where the ceremony was taking place,” Zhorin said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia did not immediately comment on the attack.

Moscow has denied deliberately targeting civilians but its missile and drone attacks have repeatedly struck cities across Ukraine since it began its full-scale invasion in February last year.

Last month, a Russian missile hit a crowded pizza restaurant in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, killing 12 people. Victoria Amalina, a prominent writer and war crimes researcher who was badly injured in the attack, died from her injuries on July 1.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies