RUSSIAN STRIKE KILLS ABOUT NINE AND INCLUDING TODDLER IN EASTERN UKRAINE
SLOVIANSK (April 15, 2023): Russia shelled a block of flats in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, killing nine people, authorities said today, including a two-year-old boy who was rescued from the rubble but died on his way to hospital.
Friday’s strike on the quiet neighbourhood came as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that will make it easier to mobilise citizens into the army and block them from fleeing the country if drafted.
Russia also said it was pushing further into the hotspot of Bakhmut, 45 kilometres (27 miles) southeast of Sloviansk, which is one of the cities that will be at risk if Kyiv loses the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
Sloviansk lies in a part of the Donetsk region that is under Ukrainian control. According to Kyiv, it was struck by seven missiles which hit five buildings, five homes, a school and an administrative building.
Vadim Lyakh, the head of Sloviansk’s military administration, said that nine people died — including a woman whose body was recovered from the rubble overnight — and 21 were wounded.
Five people were still under the rubble and their identities were established, he said.
AFP journalists saw rescue workers digging for survivors on the top floor of the typical Soviet-era housing block, and black smoke billowing from homes on fire across the street.
“A child died in an ambulance after being pulled out from the rubble,” Ukrainian police said on Twitter.
Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska sent her condolences to the child’s family during this “indescribable grief”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier denounced Russia for “brutally shelling” residential buildings and “killing people in broad daylight”.
The street below — including a playground — was covered in concrete dust and debris, including torn pages from school books and children’s drawings.
“I live on the opposite side of the street and I was sleeping a little when I heard this huge boom and I ran out from my flat,” 59-year-old resident Larisa.
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