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Russian rocket barrage kills 18 people and injures 77 in historic city of Ukraine



Russian Missile Barrage Kills 18, Injures 77 In Historic Ukraine City

The official death toll rose to 18 on Thursday morning.


Rescue workers on Thursday removed mountains of rubble from the site of a deadly Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s historic city of Chernigiv, killing at least 18 people in an attack that has prompted new pleas from allies to strengthen Kiev’s overstretched air defense systems.

Three Russian missiles crashed into the northern Ukrainian city on Wednesday, leaving pools of blood on the street at the site of one attack, where rescuers searched for survivors and carried the wounded away on stretchers.

The official death toll rose to 18 on Thursday morning, with 77 people – including four children – injured, Ukrainian emergency services said.

As President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more aid from Western allies, the U.S. House of Representatives finally announced a vote on a massive military aid package that includes about $61 billion in long-delayed aid for Kiev, a move welcomed by President Joe Biden.

Chernigiv resident Olga Samoilenko told AFP that she and her children found shelter in the hallway of their apartment building after the first rocket exploded.

“Our neighbors were already there. We started shouting for everyone to fall to the ground. They did. There were two more explosions. Then we ran to the parking lot,” said the 33-year-old.

– Zelensky doubts West’s resolve –

Mayor Oleksandr Lomako said more than a dozen buildings were damaged in the attack, while other officials said dozens of vehicles and medical and educational facilities were also damaged.

A 25-year-old policewoman on sick leave was among those killed after being seriously injured by shrapnel, the Interior Minister announced.

AFP journalists on the scene saw a body being pulled from the rubble and an eight-storey hotel building destroyed by the strike, with municipal workers using a crane to clear rubble.

Nearby apartments, a beauty salon and a beer shop were among the buildings whose windows were blown out in the attack.

The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the start of the Russian invasion but has been spared fighting for about two years since the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack, but also said the West should do more to help defend Ukrainian airspace.

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

– ‘Same defense level’ –

Zelenskiy told the European Council via video link later Wednesday that Ukraine should be given the same airstrike coverage as Israel and called for more air defense systems.

“Here in Ukraine, in our part of Europe, we unfortunately do not have the level of defense that we recently saw in the Middle East,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky was referring to the interception of Iran’s drone and missile attacks on Israel last Saturday.

“Our Ukrainian air, the air of our neighbors deserves the same level of defense.”

The Ukrainian president added: “All lives are equally valuable.”

In Washington, Biden cheered the planned vote in Congress on the massive new aid package for Ukraine, scheduled for Saturday after months of political wrangling, and called on U.S. lawmakers to approve it.

“I will immediately sign this into law to send a message to the world: ‘We stand with our friends, and we will not let Iran or Russia succeed,’” he said in a White House statement .

Chernigiv is located about 145 kilometers (90 miles) north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, and had a population of about 285,000 before the war.

The city was severely damaged when Russian tanks invaded Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022 and besieged the city until April of that year.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)