15 dead in Russian shelling of apartment building in eastern Ukraine

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A Russian missile struck a building in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, killing at least 15 people as Moscow forces sought to consolidate their control over the Donbass region.

“During the rescue operation, 15 bodies were found at the scene and five people were extracted from the rubble” alive in the town of Chasiv Yar, the local branch of the Ukrainian emergency services said on Facebook.

“At least 30 more are under the rubble” of the four-story building after it was hit by a Russian Uragan missile, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said earlier on Telegram.

The building was partially destroyed in the strike, AFP correspondents noted at the scene where rescuers were digging through the rubble with a mechanical shovel.

Rescuers had so far been able to make contact with three people under the rubble, rescuers said.

After fighting long battles to seize the last areas of the neighboring Lugansk region, Russian troops are now turning their sights to Donetsk as they seek to take control of the entire Donbass region.

“I was in the bedroom, I came out and everything started to shake, to collapse,” a resident of Chasiv Yar told AFP, who declined to be named.

“What saved me was the force of the explosion that pushed me into the bathroom, covered in blood. I barely got out,” she said.

“Absolutely deliberately”

The Donetsk region was under persistent shelling, while Russian ground attacks were all but halted, the Ukrainian army general staff said on Sunday.

On Saturday, three people were killed and 23 others injured by shelling in Donetsk, Governor Kyrylenko said.

Strikes were also reported in Kharkiv, the second largest city in northeastern Ukraine, where an “educational institution” and a house were hit, injuring one person, according to regional governor Oleg Sinegubov.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the widespread Russian bombardment in a speech on Saturday evening.

“In a single day, Russia hit Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rig, communities in the Zaporizhzhia region,” Zelensky said.

The Russian strikes “absolutely deliberately” and “deliberately” targeted the residential sector, hitting “ordinary houses, civilian property, people”, he said.

“Such terrorist actions can only really be stopped with modern and powerful weapons,” Zelensky added, thanking the United States for its latest military aid program.

To give Kyiv a boost, Washington signed a $400 million package, including four additional high-mobility artillery rocket systems to add to the eight already in place and high-precision artillery munitions who had not previously been sent to Ukraine.

“This is a new development in our support for Ukraine in this battle in Donbass,” a senior defense official quoted by the US Department of Defense said.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s restriction on Ukrainian grain exports may have contributed to unrest in Sri Lanka sparked by severe food and fuel shortages.

“We see the impact of this Russian aggression playing out everywhere,” Blinken told reporters in Bangkok.

Renewing a request he has repeatedly made, Blinken called on Russia to let around 20 million tonnes of grain leave Ukraine, which Moscow invaded in February.

Turbine return

On Saturday, Canada agreed to deliver the turbines needed to maintain the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany, despite sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine had urged Canada not to return the turbines, which are currently undergoing maintenance at a Canadian site owned by German industrial giant Siemens.

Gazprom cut deliveries through the pipeline, blaming the move on the late return of components and raising fears of a gas shortage in Germany.

Canada “would grant a time-limited and revocable permit to Siemens Canada to allow the return of the repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines,” said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

The Canadian minister also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of wanting to “sow division” among Western allies by cutting supplies.

In addition, Canada announced on Saturday its intention to extend its economic sanctions against Russia to industrial manufacturing.

“These new sanctions will apply to land and pipeline transportation and the manufacturing of metals and transportation, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as machinery,” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement. .

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