14 March 2023

Russian missile hits apartment building in eastern Ukraine

14 March 2023

A Russian missile has struck an apartment building in the centre of Kramatorsk, killing at least one person and wounding three others in one of Ukraine’s major city strongholds in its eastern Donetsk region.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that six apartment buildings were damaged in the blast and rescue efforts were continuing.

He posted a video showing gaping holes in the facade of the low-rise building that bore the brunt of the strike.

The Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office and regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko also reported on the attack, posting photos of the building with mounds of rubble in front of it.

The war, which erupted after Russia’s launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, has brought heavy civilian casualties. Tuesday’s victims were among at least six civilians killed and 30 wounded in 24 hours, Ukraine authorities said.

“Russian troops are striking residential buildings, schools and hospitals, leaving cities on fire and in ruins,” Mr Kyrylenko said on Ukrainian television. “The Russians mark each metre of their advance in the region not only with their own blood, but also with the lives of civilians.”

Kramatorsk houses the local Ukrainian army headquarters. Ukrainian authorities say it has been regularly targeted by Russian shelling and other attacks in the past.

A missile strike on the city’s train station last April, which Kyiv and much of the international community blamed on Moscow, killed several dozen people and wounded more than 100.

Russia had welcomed a Chinese peace proposal to end the fighting but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Kyiv’s refusal to have talks leaves Moscow with only military options.

Beijing has said it has a “no limits friendship” with Russia and has refused to criticise Moscow’s invasion, or even refer to it as an invasion.

“We must achieve our goals,” Mr Peskov told reporters. “Given the current stance of the Kyiv regime, now it’s only possible by military means.”

However, Moscow’s pursuit of its goals in Ukraine has been slowed by poor war management and a lack of resources after being beaten back at the end of last year in a Ukrainian counter-offensive, military analysts say.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that Russia’s artillery ammunition shortages “have likely worsened to the extent that extremely punitive shell-rationing is in force on many parts of the front”.

That shortcoming has “almost certainly been a key reason why no Russian formation has recently been able to generate operationally significant offensive action”, the MoD said.

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