A Ukrainian man ran home on the outskirts of the central city of Dnipro in hopes of rescuing his family.only to find his 2-year-old daughter dead and his wife critically injured as he helped pull them out of the rubble of their apartment destroyed in one of Russia’s latest airstrikes on Ukraine, authorities said Sunday.
Following the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that At least 500 Ukrainian children have been killed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.. The United Nations says about 1,000 more Ukrainian children have been injured and thousands more have been forcibly deported to Russia.
Zelensky, who on Thursday marked International Children’s Day, said that “Russian weapons and hatred continue to take and destroy the lives of Ukrainian children every day,” adding that “many of them could have become scholars, artists , famous sports champions, contributing to the history of Ukraine”.
“We must endure and win this war!” she said. “YouAll Ukraine, all our people, all our children, must be free from Russian terror.!”
Two-year-old Liza was killed when a Russian missile struck a courtyard next to her apartment building Saturday night while she was at home with her mother.e, said Serhiy Lysak, Dnipropetrovsk regional governor. The girl’s father ran home from work.
“The father was on duty and, I was told, he personally cleared up the debris and got his wife and daughter out. Imagine the magnitude of this tragedy,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, reporting on the rescue that lasted until early Sunday morning. The girl’s mother was hospitalized in intensive care.
Zelensky said that five children were among the 25 people injured in Saturday’s attackwhich damaged two residential buildings.
The mother of one of the children sat among broken concrete, twisted metal, toys and children’s clothing near her apartment building and described what happened.
“I was running from the power station through traffic,” Alyona Serednyak recalled. “I was running home. My son was home alone. We tried to get my son out from under the cage at the window”.
He said they managed to free him and he is now hospitalized in intensive care.
Like Zelensky, his wife Olena focused on the suffering of children in war on Sunday, dedicating a monument to them in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
“Parents hold the hand of their children when they take their first steps, when they take them for the first time to kindergarten, to school,” said the first lady of Ukraine. “The worst thing you can imagine is holding the hand of a dead child. It just shouldn’t be like this. Children must live!”
Russian cruise missile and drone strikes on Sunday targeted multiple areas of the country, including the capital kyiv.
The Ukrainian air force updated earlier figures and said air defenses shot down six of eight Shahed self-exploding drones and fired four of six cruise missiles.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said two missiles hit a military airbase at Kropyvnytskyi in Kyrovohrad province in central Ukraine. Reported no damage.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the military destroyed Ukrainian warplanes and ammunition depots in attacks on Ukrainian airfields.but did not give more details.
The Russian military has reported attacks in recent days against Ukrainian air defense batteries, air bases, troop and ammunition depots, military production factories, command and observation points and other battlefield positions. The attacks come as Ukrainian officials hold back from announcing the launch of their long-awaited counter-offensive to retake more Russian-occupied territory, even though the pace of military activity suggests the operation may already be underway.
Ukrainian forces kept up the pressure on Russian forces in the eastern city of Bakhmutwhich Moscow reclaimed control of last month after the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
Elsewhere, heThe Russians fighting alongside Ukrainian forces declared that they had launched new attacks in Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.. One of the groups, the Russian Volunteer Corps, posted videos on Sunday showing an alleged raid and offering to exchange prisoners with Russian authorities. Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.
Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov responded to the prisoner exchange offer in a video of his own, saying he was skeptical that the captives were still alive, but was open to a meeting to discuss an exchange. The Russian Volunteer Corps said in a video released later that no meeting had taken place and that the Russian prisoners would be handed over to Ukrainian forces, which have regularly exchanged prisoners with Russia in one of the few areas of cooperation.
Gladkov also reported more Ukrainian shelling on the border district of Shebekino and neighboring areas on Sunday. He said at least two people were killed and several people injured on Saturday and several fires started. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces repelled an attempted raid on the town of Novaya Tavolzhanka.
Some observers see the attacks in Belgorod, which prompted Russian authorities to evacuate thousands of residents, as part of Ukraine’s efforts to distract Moscow and stretch its forces to help the counteroffensive succeed.
In Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, regional leader Sergei Aksenov reported an attack with Ukrainian drones in the city of Dzhankoi early Sunday. He claimed that five of the attacking drones were shot down and another four stuck and forced to land, adding that there were no casualties.
The latest Russian raids on Ukrainian cities raised civilian security concerns after officials announced that nearly a quarter of the 4,800 bomb shelters they inspected were closed or unfit for use.
(With information from AP)
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