Vinnytsia: At least 20 dead including three children in Russian ‘war crime’ missile strike, say Ukraine

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Emergency services work next to a damaged building at the site of the  Russian military strike (REUTERS)
Emergency services work next to a damaged building at the site of the Russian military strike (REUTERS)

At least 20 civilians including three children were killed and dozens wounded on Thursday in a Russian cruise missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, officials have said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the strike which is said to have hit an office block, a medical centre and damaged residential buildings “an open act of terrorism”.

Ukraine’s military said Vinnytsia, a city of 370,000 people 125 miles southwest of Kyiv and far from any frontlines in the conflict, was hit by three Russian Kalibr cruise missiles fired from a submarine in the Black Sea.

Police said the wounded included about 50 people who were seriously hurt and that 15 others were unaccounted for.

 (AP)
(AP)

Mr Zelensky told an international conference aimed at prosecuting war crimes in Ukraine: “This morning, Russian missiles hit our city of Vinnytsia, an ordinary, peaceful city”

“Cruise missiles hit two community facilities, houses were destroyed, a medical centre was destroyed, cars and trams were on fire.”

“Every day, Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, carries out missile attacks on the civilian facilities where there is no military target. What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?” Mr Zelensky said in a statement on social media.

Video footage showed thick black smoke billowing out of a tall building, while photographs posted online by the State Emergency Service showed grey smoke rising later from the twisted remains of burnt-out cars and smouldering rubble.

One showed an abandoned, overturned pram lying on the street.

 (AP)
(AP)

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office said residential buildings and administrative and office premises had suffered “significant damage and destruction”.

In a comment on Twitter, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of committing “another war crime”.

“We will put Russian war criminals on trial for every drop of Ukrainian blood and tears,” he wrote.

The Russian defence ministry, which denies deliberately targeting civilians, did not immediately comment on the strike, but has previously denied comitting war crimes in Ukraine.

The strike came a day after a breakthrough in talks between Moscow and Kyiv to unblock Ukrainian grain exports and underscored how far the two sides remain from a peace settlement.

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