Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian troops of purposely targeting “ordinary houses” over the weekend as missiles struck an apartment building in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 15 people and trapping more than two dozen in the rubble. 

The Ukrainian leader, calling Russia a “terrorist state,” addressed the enemy’s escalating attacks in the Donbas region in a speech to the nation Saturday. 

The Russian army “fired precisely at the residential sector – absolutely deliberately, purposefully, at ordinary houses and civilian objects. There are casualties – dead, wounded,” Zelensky said.

“The brutal strikes of the Russian artillery in Donbas do not stop for a single day,” he added.  

An apartment building in Chasiv Yar, a town of about 12,000 in the Donetsk region, was hit by a barrage of Russian Uragan rockets Saturday evening, local Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said. 

People trying to collect their belongings from an apartment damaged due to an airstrike by Russian forces in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on June 10, 2022.
People trying to collect their belongings from an apartment damaged due to an airstrike by Russian forces in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on June 10, 2022.
Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ukrainian emergency services said at least 15 people were killed in the strike, and rescuers were digging through the wreckage with heavy equipment and their hands to find survivors.

“We ran to the basement, there were three hits, the first somewhere in the kitchen,” a local resident who identified herself as Ludmila told Reuters. 

“The second [strike], I do not even remember, there was lightning, we ran towards the second entrance and then straight into the basement. We sat there all night until this morning,” Ludmila said. 

Apartments of a building burn on fire during heavy shelling in Siversk, Ukraine, July 08th, 2022.
Apartments of a building burn on fire during heavy shelling in Siversk, Ukraine, July 8, 2022.
Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Donetsk, along with Luhansk, make up the Donbas region, where fighting has been ongoing since Russia invaded and annexed the nearby Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and began backing further pro-separatist militias fighting against Ukraine’s government. 

After being stymied in the early weeks of the invasion into Ukraine, Russian troops regrouped and concentrated their military operations in the Donbas, where they captured some Ukrainian cities amid fierce fighting. 

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, on Saturday said Russian forces are raising “true hell” in the Donbas despite assessments that the army was pausing operations after seizing Lysychansk last week.

torn facades of apartments in a residential building partially destroyed after a close missile hit  in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on July 1, 2022
Torn facades of apartments in a residential building partially destroyed after a close missile hit in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, July 1, 2022.
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

“So far, there has been no operational pause announced by the enemy. [Russia] is still attacking and shelling our lands with the same intensity as before,” Haidai said.

With Post wires



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