Macabre images after bombings in Zaporizhia

Macabre images after shelling in Zaporizhia

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In the ruins of a five-storey building of which only the ground floor remains, in the heart of the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, a lifeless manicured hand with bright red fingernails suddenly appears from between the rubble. 

Thursday, seven missiles hit the city, including three its hypercentre, shortly after 5:00 am. “The Russians continue to deliberately hit civilians to sow fear,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba blasted on Twitter.

The young woman lived in a building overlooking the main artery of this industrious city, the largest in southwestern Ukraine not under Russian control. About forty kilometers separates Zaporizhia from the artillery battles of the front.

The victim, carefully removed from the rubble by the rescuers, must have been in bed when his building shattered. Death picked her up in her underwear with her eyes open.

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An hour later, after rescuers cleared tons of rubble, firefighters poured hectoliters of water on the ruins from which thick smoke was still billowing seven hours after the impact, another body was found.

However, it was impossible to imagine who it could be, a man or a woman, young or old, after hours spent in the fire, its four limbs having also been torn off. The body is quickly placed in a black body bag, then evacuated.

Officially, one person was killed and seven injured on Thursday morning in Zaporijjia. But this assessment is only very partial.

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In the building on the main street, AFP saw two corpses. According to a rescuer, there could be “six to ten” victims. A third body was also found on another site, according to this rescuer, who refuses to give her name to AFP.

The head of the Red Cross in Zaporijjia, Oksana Beketova, told AFP of a body also found in a car wash center, and of a woman killed in her house.

“We are continually asking people to evacuate. (But) two bus stops from here, there are still people walking in a park”, regrets Ms. Beketova, hoping that after these heavy bombardments, “people will take their chance to save themselves”.

Macabre images after bombings in Zaporizhia

Macabre images after shelling in Zaporizhia

“A lot of people will go to other cities: families with children, the elderly”, predicts for his part Igor Osolodko, a 25-year-old musician, who came with dozens of other volunteers to help evacuate the rubble brick by brick. of a completely gutted building.

“For the first time in my life, I feel pure hatred”, he continues. “It's absurd, it's unreal. We just have to rely on our army and live with this terror until it's all over, until we win.”

This is not the city's first disaster. Last Friday, 31 people died on the outskirts of Zaporizhia on a parking lot, when a missile crashed on them. Apart from one policeman killed, the other 30 were trying to return to the part of Ukraine under Russian control.

Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other for this bombardment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday finalized the claimed annexation of four Ukrainian territories (Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia), but the Kremlin has not yet confirmed which geographical areas of these regions will be annexed.

While the Ukrainian army claimed on Thursday to have taken back 400 square kilometers from Russia in the Kherson region (south), no one yet understands whether the city of Zaporizhia is part of the territories that Moscow considers, or not, as its own, even if the nuclear power plant is claimed by Moscow.

Dimitri Sirchenko, who also came to help clear the ruins of a building, does not understand why the bombardment struck in the middle of the city.

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“I could have explained it from a logical point of view if they had hit military bases, or whatever. But they hit a city center, where there are no soldiers. where there is no infrastructure. They just hit civilian buildings”, he is indignant.

For him, however, there is no question of leaving. “To go where ? he asks. There is no safe place” in Ukraine.