“Again, Zaporizhzhia. Again, merciless attacks on civilians, targeting residential buildings, in the middle of the night. Absolute meanness. Absolute evil. … From the one who gave this order, to everyone who carried out this order: they will answer. They must. Before the law and the people.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegram post.
At least 17 people have been killed by Russian shelling of a residential area in Ukraine’s south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia, a region the Kremlin illegally claims to have annexed despite not controlling all of it.
The overnight attack happened in the aftermath of a devastating explosion on a key bridge linking Russian-occupied Crimea to the Russian mainland, a prestige project of the president, Vladimir Putin. The blast seriously damaged the 12-mile-long (19km) structure, which serves as an important military supply route.
The Zaporizhzhia strike came as Ukrainians – jubilant over the damage to the Kerch bridge, a hated symbol of Putin’s ambitions – were bracing for a major retaliation by Moscow, which had warned Kyiv against targeting the structure.
Russian officials did not immediately comment on the strikes. Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Zaporizhzhia region last week, Russia has repeatedly bombarded the city of the same name.
Zaporizhzhia is close to the frontline where Kyiv’s forces have been carrying out a large-scale counterattack against Russian troops. The Ukrainian-controlled industrial city is in the Zaporizhzhia region, also home to the Russian-occupied nuclear plant that has been the site of heavy shelling. In recent weeks, Russia has repeatedly struck the city. At least another 19 people died on Thursday in Russian missile strikes on apartment buildings in Zaporizhzhia, which in turn followed a Russian strike on a convoy of civilian cars in the region that killed 30 just over a week ago.
The Guardian and AP