Russian missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia kill 13
- Russian missile attacks in southeastern Ukraine kill 13
- Russia says train traffic on the bridge is working as planned
- A bridge over the Kerch Strait vital to supplying Russian troops
- The imposing structure is a symbol of the annexation of Crimea by Russia
Kyiv, Oct 9 (Reuters) – A Russian missile attack hit an apartment building and other residential buildings in the southeastern Ukrainian town of Zaporizhzhia on Sunday morning, killing at least 13 people and injuring 89 others, Ukrainian officials said.
Rail services and partial road traffic meanwhile resumed a day after a powerful explosion damaged a bridge linking Russia with Crimea which is a key supply route for Moscow forces fighting in the south of the Ukraine and an imposing symbol of its annexation of the peninsula.
Saturday’s explosion at the bridge over the Kerch Strait drew cheery messages from Ukrainian officials, but no claims of responsibility. Russia did not immediately assign responsibility for the explosion, which footage showed had blown away half of a section of the bridge’s roadway, with the other half still attached.
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The pre-dawn strikes on Zaporizhzhia on Sunday were the second such attack on the city in three days.
Russian planes launched at least 12 missiles, partially destroying a nine-story building, leveling five other residential buildings and damaging many others, Zaporizhzhia region governor Oleksandr Starukh told state television.
At least 13 people were killed and 89 others were injured, 60 of whom were hospitalized, Ukrainian officials said. Among the injured were 11 children.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the attack “absolute evil” by people he called “savages and terrorists”, promising that those responsible would be brought to justice.
The town of Zaporizhzhia, about 52 km (30 miles) from a Russian-held nuclear power plant, has been bombed frequently in recent weeks, with 19 people killed on Thursday.
Rescuers and firefighters cordoned off the nine-story building and dug for survivors and injured people in the smoldering rubble of a massive central section that had collapsed.
The blast destroyed cars and left torn metal window frames, balconies and air conditioners hanging from the building’s shrapnel-riddled facade.
Most of the Zaporizhzhia region, including the nuclear power plant, has been under Russian control since the first days of the Russian invasion in February. The region’s capital, the city of Zaporizhzhia, remains under Ukrainian control.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said divers would begin work on Sunday examining damage to the Crimean Bridge, with a more detailed survey above the waterline expected to be completed by the end of the week. day, national news agencies reported.
The White House declined to comment directly on the explosion that damaged the Crimean Bridge on Sunday, but said the United States would continue to arm Ukraine.
“We really have nothing more to add to the information on the explosion on the bridge,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told ‘This Week’. ABC.
“The situation is manageable – it’s unpleasant, but not fatal,” Russian Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov told reporters. “Of course emotions were triggered and there is a healthy desire for revenge.”
The Russian Transport Ministry said freight trains and long-distance passenger trains crossing the bridge were running as scheduled on Sunday. Limited road traffic resumed around 10 a.m. on Saturday after the explosion.
“Only passenger cars will use the road section of the Crimean Bridge until a special order is issued. The railway line will operate normally. Buses of all types and heavy vehicles will be transported by ferry,” said writes Aksyonov on the Telegram messaging app.
It was not yet clear whether Saturday’s explosion was a deliberate attack, but the damage to such a high-profile structure came amid Russia’s battlefield defeats and could still cloud the Kremlin’s assurances about to conflict planning.
Ukraine has retaken more than 1,170 square kilometers (450 square miles) of land in its southern region of Kherson since launching its counterattack against Russia in late August, a military spokesman said on Sunday.
Ukraine was a dazzling success with its offensive in the northeast, but its push south to annihilate a Russian foothold on the western bank of the vast Dnipro River was less swift.
Aksyonov said Crimea had a month of fuel and more than two months of food. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that its forces in southern Ukraine could be “fully supplied” by existing land and sea routes.
Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the 19 km (12 mile) bridge connecting the region to its transport network was opened to much fanfare four years later by President Vladimir Putin.
Kyiv is demanding that Russian forces leave the Black Sea peninsula, as well as the Ukrainian territory they seized during Putin’s invasion in February.
The bridge is a major artery for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and for the port of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based.
Russian officials said three people were killed in the blast early Saturday morning. On the upper level of the bridge, seven fuel tank cars of a 59-car train heading to the peninsula also caught fire.
Russia’s federal counterterrorism agency said on Saturday that a cargo truck exploded on the roadway of the bridge. He said two spans of the road bridge had partially collapsed, but the arch spanning the channel through which ships travel between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov was undamaged.
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Reporting by Max Hunder, Jonathan Landay in Kyiv, Sergiy Chalyi in Zaporizhzhia and Reuters bureaus; Written by Jonathan Landay and Frances Kerry; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Alex Richardson
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