Ukraine war: Up to 60 dead after airstrike on school in Luhansk region

Bilogorivka, Ukraine - Ukrainian authorities have spoken of possibly up to 60 dead after a Russian airstrike on a school in the Luhansk region in the heavily contested east of the country.

Emergency crew members tend to a fire after a school building was shelled in the village of Bilohorivka.
Emergency crew members tend to a fire after a school building was shelled in the village of Bilohorivka.  © REUTERS

Two bodies have been recovered so far after an airstrike on the school in Bilogorivka, the region's governor Serhiy Haidai announced on his Telegram channel on Sunday. "Probably all 60 people who are still under the rubble of the building are dead," he added.

According to him, the airstrike occurred as early as Saturday afternoon. In the school building, 90 people had sought shelter from the attacks. The bombing caused a fire to break out in the school, and the building collapsed.

Emergency services were able to rescue 30 people, seven of whom were injured, the governor said.

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Bilogorivka is an urban settlement about 6 miles west of Lysychansk, which is under heavy Russian bombardment.

After several days without significant progress, Russian troops have now regained ground in their attacks in Ukraine's far eastern Donbass region, according to Ukrainian sources.

Luhansk and Donetsk together make up the Donbass region, where Russia has refocused its attacks since failing to make advances near the capital Kyiv and in other parts of Ukraine.

Pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian government forces in the region since 2014. Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 was launched shortly after it recognized the independence of two self-declared "people's republics" in Luhansk and Donetsk.

"In the direction of Lyman, the enemy has captured the northern edge of Shandrigolove through attacks," the Ukrainian general staff announced in its situation report on Sunday.

Shandrigolove is located about 12.4 miles north of the major city of Slovyansk, which is a partial target of the Russian operation in the Donbass.

Russian attacks continue around Mariupol

A girl looks through the bus window as civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne.
A girl looks through the bus window as civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne.  © REUTERS

In addition, Russian troops continue to launch attacks in the direction of Sievierodonetsk, Popasna, and Avdiivka.

"In the direction of Kurakhove, the enemy is trying to resume its offensive on Novo-Mikhaylovka with the support of artillery," the report also said.

In the heavily besieged south-eastern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian units would continue to blockade at the steel plant. With air and artillery support, Russian troops are continuing their assault attempts there.

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In total, the Ukrainian military leadership reports that nine Russian attacks have been repelled. Among other things, one Mi-28 helicopter, 19 tanks, and 20 armored military vehicles were shot down.

Meanwhile, all the remaining civilian women, children, and elderly people who had been taking refuge in the steelworks left the facility on Saturday, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

"This part of the humanitarian operation is finished," she wrote on Telegram. However, it is unclear if civilian men remained behind with a group of soldiers who have been resisting Russian attacks at the Azovstal steelworks for weeks now, against overwhelming odds.

It is also unknown if other civilians remain in hiding in other parts of the largely destroyed city, which was home to 400,000 before Russia's invasion.

According to the report, the Russians were on the defensive in the north of the Kharkiv region.

"The enemy has concentrated its efforts on stopping the advance of our troops towards the border north and north-east of Kharkiv," the general staff said.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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