Five killed, dozens injured in Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s Pokrovsk

Officials say the town near the eastern front line was hit by two Iskander-M missiles fired 30 minutes apart.

A bomb crater surrounded by destroyed houses in Pokrovsk
The missiles destroyed people's homes [Alina Smutko/Reuters]

At least five people were killed and 41 injured, including four children, after Russia launched two missiles on the eastern Ukrainian town of Pokrovsk.

“This is one of the largest enemy attacks on civilians recently,” regional Governor Vadym Filashkin said on Telegram.

Three girls – aged 9, 11 and 13 – and a 12-year-old boy were injured, he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking in his nightly video address, said that Ukraine would respond to the attack “in an absolutely fair manner”.

Petro, a local, was circling a badly damaged blue car, the driver’s seat soaked with blood. His son had been killed at the wheel and his grandson was taken to hospital. “My son, he is dead already, it’s done,” he said, weeping.

Six cars and 16 houses were damaged, and one house was destroyed, Filashkin said.

A man weeps by the front door of a blue car where his son was killed in a Russian attack. The front of the car is mangled with the number plate hanging off. The windscreen is broken. Another damaged car is nearby.
Petro was grief-stricken after his son was killed and his grandson injured in the attack [Alina Smutko/Reuters]

Russian troops had launched two Iskander-M ballistic missiles at the town, which is about 24km (15 miles) from the front line, he added. The strikes were half an hour apart, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office said.


The attack left a huge crater, with nearby houses in ruins; their windows blown out and roofs ripped away. The town had a population of about 61,000 before Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Nikolay Kurilov said he was watering flowers in his garden when the first missile landed fewer than 500 metres (about a third of a mile) away.

“And boom. I almost fell over,” the 70-year-old told the AFP news agency.

“And about 15 minutes later, there was another boom. We started calling relatives.”

Over recent weeks, Moscow has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine’s eastern industrial region of Donetsk, which the Kremlin claims is part of Russia.

The area around Pokrovsk has seen some of the heaviest fighting along the 1,000km (600-mile) front line in recent months, with the Russians advancing towards the town after capturing Avdiivka in February.

“Today, the hottest area is the Pokrovsk direction, where the aggressor continues attempts to break through our defence,” the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Monday, citing 45 enemy attacks in the vicinity.

“The defence forces are taking measures to exhaust the Russian occupation troops and prevent their advance deep into Ukrainian territory.”

A nurse entering a hospital ward where four injured people are lying on their beds. She is carrying a dish containing medical equipment. Two of the injured have visitors.
People injured in the Russian attack receive treatment in hospital [Alina Smutko/Reuters]

Separately, Filashkin said a 62-year-old man had been killed in a Russian bomb attack on the town of Kurakhove, south of Pokrovsk. He said Russian forces had also killed a 63-year-old civilian in the town of Toretsk, where Moscow’s troops have stepped up attacks following a protracted lull.

Russia claimed to have annexed Donetsk in late 2022, along with three other regions of Ukraine it had partially occupied.

Parts of Donetsk have been controlled by Kremlin-backed armed groups since 2014.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies