Building strike kills at least 15 in eastern Ukraine

At least 15 dead in building strike in eastern Ukraine

UPDATE DAY

Russian forces continued to shell eastern Ukraine on Sunday, killing at least 15 people in a strike that ripped open an apartment building in Chassiv Iar, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The strike occurred at night in this small town of some 12,000 inhabitants. According to the rescue services, 24 people are still under the rubble, including a child, while five others who were under the rubble have been saved.

The four-storey building was hit by a Russian Hurricane missile, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said on Telegram, which the Russian army aims to conquer.

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AFP journalists who arrived on the scene after the strike saw the partially collapsed building, rescue workers and a backhoe working to clear the area.

“I was in the bedroom, I came out and everything started shaking, falling apart. What saved me was the wave of the explosion which propelled me, bloody, into the toilet,” testified a resident interviewed by AFP, who refused to give her name. /p>

According to Mr. Kyrylenko, at least 591 civilians have been killed and 1,548 others injured so far in the Donetsk region since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. On Friday, he said that Moscow was preparing “new actions” in the east.

The Russian army, which announced at the beginning of July that it had took control of the Lugansk region, is now targeting the Donetsk region to occupy the entire Donbass mining basin.

It has been partially controlled since 2014 by Moscow-backed separatists after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

“Brutal Russian artillery strikes do not stop for a day … Sloviansk, Bakhmout, Avdiivka…”, condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday evening, still calling for “modern and powerful” weapons to defend themselves.

“Civilian Objectives”

Mr. Zelensky also accused Moscow of hitting “deliberately, intentionally, simple houses, civilian objects, people. There are casualties, dead, wounded”.

Several Ukrainian officials have also accused the Russian forces of causing, with their fire, fires in the fields to destroy the crops.

The Ukrainian army general staff reported on Saturday, as the day before, numerous Russian bombardments, but almost no ground assaults by Moscow forces.

Kyiv, for its part, assured that it had targeted two “command points” and Russian depots in the Chornobaivka region (south).

In Kharkiv (north-east), the country's second largest city, Governor Oleg Synegoubov reported on Telegram new missile fire which hit an “educational establishment” and a house, injuring one person.

Other Russian strikes are reported in particular near Siversk and Sloviansk (east) as well as in the Mykolaiv region (south).

The “ambassador” in Moscow of the separatist republic of Lugansk, Rodion Mirotchnik, said on Telegram on Sunday morning that in the Donetsk region an offensive was “launched against Siversk from the north”, and the locality of Grygorivka was “captured after fighting”.

According to him, “our troops continue to carry out military operations to liberate Serebrianka”, another locality in the region.

The Russian Ministry of Defense in a statement on Saturday evening accused the Ukrainians of installing men and armaments in schools and civilian buildings in several localities of the Donetsk Territory and Kharkiv.

Turbines for Nord Stream

On the economic front, Canada decided on Saturday, despite sanctions hitting Russia, to return to Germany turbines intended for the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream, currently in Siemens workshops near Montreal. Kyiv had however called not to “submit to the blackmail of the Kremlin”.

The Russian gas group Gazprom had invoked this work to justify in mid-June a reduction in its deliveries to Germany via Nord Stream.

“Canada will grant Siemens Canada a revocable permit for a limited period to allow repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines to return to Germany, which will support Europe's ability to access reliable and affordable energy,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson.

The Minister accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of wanting to “sow division among the Allies”.

In addition, Canada announced on Saturday its intention to extend its economic sanctions against Russia to industrial manufacturing.

“The new sanctions will apply to land and pipeline transportation as well as the manufacturing of metals and transportation, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, and machinery,” the agency said. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly.