Broken glass, exploding tires and a crater show the violence of a deadly attack in Zaporizhzhia.

Seen from a distance, the double mast of cars and pickup trucks stopped on a wide stretch of sidewalk in a province in southern Ukraine that appears frozen in time. Vehicles filled with everyone’s belongings on a long journey: suitcases, full plastic bags and water bottles.

But all around were signs that strike violence hit a convoy fleeing fighting in Zaporizhzhia province early Friday. There was a crater a few yards from the convoy, its edges blackened. Vehicles were riddled with shrapnel, most tires were deflated and windows were blown out.

In total, 30 people died and 88 were injured in a Russian missile attack, according to regional police chief Ihor Klymenko. Pictures from the scene showed security officers dumping bodies in black plastic bags, while others remained on the ground.

An 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were killed and a 3-year-old girl was injured, he said in a Facebook post.

Natalia, who asked not to release her last name out of concern for her safety, said she was driving her car with four passengers into the line and out when the first explosion sounded. “I don’t know how many explosions there were,” she said in an interview. “I lay on the ground waiting for it.”

The second explosion shattered the window of her car and about a dozen more explosions followed. “When it was over, I ran,” she said, past a macabre scene of the dead and wounded.

“People lay on the ground, near their cars or a little further, depending on how far they came, and they were dead.”

She was grazed by shrapnel, but she said that two of her passengers, a man and a woman, were dead and two others were injured. Speaking of Russian forces, she said: “I don’t understand their logic, if it exists.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky noted the timing of the attack, which came hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in Moscow, to great domestic fanfare that Russia would take control of four regions of Ukraine including including Zaporizhzhia. The annexation has been denounced by Ukraine and the West as illegal.

“Another farce took place in Moscow today,” Zelensky said in an overnight address Friday. “Something was held there. They were chanting something there. They sing in the square. They were talking about Zaporizhzhia, when they themselves arranged such a thing in Zaporizhzhia. “

The attack was the latest in a series of large-scale attacks on civilian targets since the Russian invasion in February. These include an attack at a train station in Kramatorsk killed 50 people in eastern Ukraine in April; a missile attack on a shopping mall in the city Kremenchuk in June left at least 16 people dead; and an attack at a mall in the city of Vinnytsia in July killed 20. Russia often denies responsibility or blames Ukraine for the deaths of civilians.

Russia appears to have stepped up attacks on its eastern and southern targets in recent days. The head of the regional military association, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said four civilians were killed in Donetsk province on Friday on the social messaging app Telegram. According to the city’s mayor, Oleksandr Sienkevych, a mother and three-month-old baby were injured in the port city of Mykolaiv overnight when a rocket hit a house.

Experts question the military merit of the attacks as Ukraine gained territory in the northeastern part of the country in September and infiltrated in the east.

A report by British military intelligence on Saturday said Russia may be using a scarce supply of the long-range anti-aircraft missiles used in the Zaporizhzhia attack.

Russia’s stockpile of such missiles has a very limited capacity and is a highly valuable resource designed to shoot down modern aircraft and incoming missiles, the report said. against ground targets”.


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