Nine killed in Russian strike on Ukraine city

Nine killed in Russian strike on Ukraine city

KYIV (AFP): A Russian strike Wednesday on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernigiv killed nine people and wounded about 20, as Kyiv sounds the alarm over shortages in its air defence capabilities.

Officials said several multi-storey buildings were hit by three missiles.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been urging allies to send more missiles to thwart Russian air attacks, said Ukraine lacked sufficient air defences to intercept missiles.

The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the beginning of Russia’s invasion but has been spared fierce fighting for around two years since Moscow’s army withdrew.

Speaking to state media, regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus said at least nine people were killed and that 20 people had been wounded after three missiles smashed into the city centre.

“Many multi-storey buildings were damaged. Civilian infrastructure is damaged. Dozens of vehicles have been destroyed,” Chaus said.

Mayor Oleksandr Lomako told state media the strike had ripped into a “very populated area” and that rescue teams were working on the site.

Images distributed by Zelensky showed first responders searching for survivors or carrying away the wounded on stretchers.

“This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defence equipment and if the world’s determination to resist Russian terror had been sufficient,” Zelensky said on social media.

His comments added to a growing chorus in Ukraine appealing to other countries to supply more sophisticated air defence systems to ward off systematic Russian strikes on key infrastructure.

Lomako said there was a direct hit to an infrastructure facility and that an eight-storey building had been badly damaged in Wednesday’s attack, but that it was not linked to energy production.

The head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Andriy Yermak, echoed the Zelensky comments in a message on social media.

“The terror must be stopped. Air and missile defense is what Ukraine needs right now,” he added.

Chernigiv lies some 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and had a pre-war population of around 285,000 people.

Many buildings in the city were damaged when Russian tanks swept into Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022.