Ukraine death toll rises to 18 after Russian missile attacks

Ukraine death toll rises to 18 after Russian missile attacks

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Eighteen people were killed and 130 injured in Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities on Tuesday morning, President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

He said 139 houses were damaged, and the death toll could rise as more people may be trapped under the rubble.

Officials in Ukraine’s second biggest city of Kharkiv in the north-east, earlier said eight people were killed, including an eight-year-old girl.

In Pavlohrad, central Dnipropetrovsk region, one woman was killed.

In the capital Kyiv, 22 people were injured, and a number of cars set on fire, local officials said earlier.

“Ordinary life is what modern Russia considers a threat to itself. This state is a typical terrorist,” President Zelensky said in his video address on Tuesday night.

Kharkiv was particularly badly hit in the morning attacks, with Mayor Ihor Terekhov saying that part of a block of flats was destroyed and rescue workers were searching the rubble for survivors.

The sky over the city turned burnt orange with fire after the strikes, which used multiple kinds of Russian missiles. The city is very close to the Russian border – it’s difficult to intercept the missiles in the air.

Kharkiv resident Natalia told the BBC she doesn’t remember things being this “loud” since the start of the war: “My house shook. It was all very loud. There were explosions, then another ten seconds – and another bang.”

“Many people are without power and heating. Other than fear and hatred, at this moment I feel nothing,” she said.

On Tuesday evening, another seven people were injured in a new Russian missile attack, Mr Terekhov said.

In Kyiv, the air raid went on for more than two-and-a-half hours in the morning, the longest since 2 January. Several other people were hurt when a block of flats caught fire and another was damaged.

A spokesman said a young woman was pulled from the rubble. Initially rescuers thought she had died, but she is now in hospital in intensive care. Most of the casualties were in Kyiv’s central Solomianskyi and western Sviatoshynskyi districts.

In Sviatoshynskyi district, several residential buildings were damaged. Hours after the attacks, emergency services told the BBC they were still on the scene and looking for explosives as it was suspected there may be part of a missile that did not detonate.

Three other regions of Kyiv were also damaged by falling debris after air defences intercepted the Russian missiles during the attack. The office of mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said 13 people – including three children – were being treated in hospital.

Elsewhere in the city, when the attack was over, city residents emerged from their bomb shelters and homes to check the damage.

In areas lucky enough not to be hit this time, people went about their morning as usual. Shops opened up, and roads and streets were busy.

At a hospital the BBC visited, staff kept working through the air raid, even though they heard the explosions and felt the doors rattle.

But at the site of the missile attack on Tuesday afternoon, emergency workers were picking through the debris where large fragments fell on a block of flats.

All the flats at one end of the building were blackened by fire, some of the balconies badly smashed. There were piles of furniture and belongings in the snow in the street.

The debris of a shot down Russian missile is removed from opposite a residential building in Kyiv


Behind the police cordon, local residents, including curious children, were also examining the damage.

Tetyana, who had come from a few streets away, said her family had spent the early morning air raid in the bathroom of their flat – hoping they would be safer, further from any windows.

“At the start of the war we thought we would get used to this, but you never do,” she told the BBC. “It’s scary every single time.” A few months ago, their own building was damaged by shrapnel when a drone was shot down over the city.

Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed 22 of 44 ballistic and cruise missiles launched by Russia overnight.

Missile strikes on Ukraine’s cities are now a deadly reality of this war and attacks have intensified in recent weeks.

Reflecting Ukrainian concerns that its demands for weapons are not being met by Western allies, the head of the presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, published a video of the damage in Kharkiv and said: “Kharkiv. We are not just a ‘fortress’. We need weapons!”

Ukrainian forces have in the past week targeted Russian energy infrastructure, including unprecedented attacks on an oil terminal in its second city St Petersburg.

Energy company Novatek has had to halt some of its operations after a fire at its Ust-Luga Baltic Sea export complex.

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By David Ryckman