Ukraine's Chernihiv hit by devastating Russian strikes that kill and injure dozens

Chernihiv, Ukraine - Three Russian missiles crashed into Ukraine's historic city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, killing 17 people as officials pleaded for more air defense systems from allies.

Russian missiles strikes hit more than a dozen buildings in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more.
Russian missiles strikes hit more than a dozen buildings in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Pools of blood gathered on the street at the scene of one strike, where rescuers searched for survivors in the rubble and carried away the wounded on stretchers, official images showed.

As President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for more help from Western allies, the US House finally announced a vote on a massive new military aid package that includes some $61 billion in long-delayed support for Kyiv, a move welcomed by President Joe Biden.

In Chernihiv, resident Olga Samoilenko told AFP how she ducked with her children into the corridor of their apartment building for protection when the first missile exploded.

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"Our neighbors were already there. We started shouting for everyone to fall to the floor. They did. There were two more explosions. Then we ran to the parking lot," the 33-year-old said.

The official death toll grew to 17 during the day, while emergency services said 60 people – including three children – had been wounded.

Zelensky slams Western inaction

Firefighters and municipal workers helped recover the bodies of the victims and cleared the debris at the scene.
Firefighters and municipal workers helped recover the bodies of the victims and cleared the debris at the scene.  © IMAGO / SOPA Images

Mayor Oleksandr Lomako said more than a dozen buildings had been damaged in the attack, while other officials said dozens of vehicles and medical and educational facilities were also damaged.

A 25-year-old police officer on sick leave was among those killed after suffering a severe shrapnel injury, the interior minister announced.

AFP journalists at the scene saw a body being pulled from the rubble and an eight-story hotel building gutted by the strike, with municipal workers using a crane to clear debris.

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Nearby apartments, a beauty salon, and a beer shop were among structures whose windows were blown out by the attack.

The Chernihiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack but also said the West should do more to help defend Ukraine's skies.

"This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defense equipment and if the world's determination to resist Russian terror had been sufficient," he said.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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