Russian forces on Sunday bombarded the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, hammering apartment buildings and residential areas with a barrage of missiles, killing at least 17 and wounding scores more.
The overnight attack on Zaporizhzhia, the second deadly missile strike in three days, brought condemnation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who called out Russia’s “merciless strikes on civilians.”
“The absolute meanness of all. Absolute evil,” he said on his Facebook page. ”From the one who gave this order, to everyone who carried out this order: they will answer. They must. Before the law and the people.”
Dmytro Kubela, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, pleaded for help from Western nations to fight back against the Russian onslaught.
“Russia continues its missile terror against civilians in Zaporizhzhia,” he said on Twitter. “We urgently need more modern air and missile defense systems to save innocent lives. I urge partners to speed up deliveries.”
The shelling of Zaporizhzhia, which Moscow has claimed as its own but Ukraine controls, comes a day after a powerful explosion tore through the Kerch Strait bridge, a critical route for Russia to supply its forces in Crimea, that destroyed sections of the roadway.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Russian officials on Sunday said freight trains were running along the 12-mile bridge on schedule and that some vehicular traffic had resumed.
“The situation is manageable – it’s unpleasant, but not fatal,” Crimea’s Russian Gov. Sergei Aksyonov said. “Of course, emotions have been triggered and there is a healthy desire to seek revenge.”
President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
In Zaporizhzhia, Russian missiles hit at least 20 private homes and 50 apartment buildings, city council Secretary Anatoliy Kurtez said. At least 40 people were wounded.
Europe’s largest nuclear plant is in Zaporizhzhia, one of the areas that voted in September’s sham elections to join Russia.
The bombing of the Kerch Strait bridge comes as Ukrainian forces have been pushing back the Russian military and retaken some territory in the four areas the Kremlin annexed – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
With Post wires