Russian missiles hit industrial facilities at a strategic city in southern Ukraine

VINNYTSIA, Ukraine — Russian missiles hit industrial facilities in a strategic town in southern Ukraine on Sunday, as a funeral was held for a 4-year-old girl killed in an earlier deadly attack elsewhere in the country.

Liza, who has Down syndrome, was on her way to see a speech therapist with her mother when a Russian missile hit the central Ukraine city of Vinnytsia on Thursday. At least 24 people were killed, including Liza and two boys aged 7 and 8. More than 200 others were injured, including Liza’s mother, who is in critical condition in an intensive care unit.

“I didn’t know Liza, but no one can sit through this,” said Father Vitalii Holoskevych, bursting into tears as Liza’s body lay in a coffin decorated with flowers and teddy bears in the 18th-century Transfiguration Cathedral in Vinnytsia.

“We know that evil cannot win,” he said, his voice shaking.

On Sunday, more Russian missiles struck industrial plants in the strategic southern city of Mykolaiv, a major shipbuilding center at the mouth of the Southern Bug River. There was initially no information about injuries.

Mykolaiv has been subject to regular Russian missile attacks in recent weeks as the Russians attempt to weaken Ukraine’s defenses.

The Russian military has set itself the goal of cutting off the entire Black Sea coast of Ukraine up to the Romanian border. If successful, such an attempt would deal a devastating blow to Ukraine’s economy and trade and would allow Moscow to secure a land bridge to Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria, where a Russian military base is located.

Early in the campaign, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attempts to capture Mykolaiv, which lies near the Black Sea coast between Russian-held Crimea and Ukraine’s main port, Odessa.

Since then, Russian troops have halted attempts to advance into the city, but have continued to bombard both Mykolaiv and Odessa with regular rocket attacks.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Sunday that Russian missiles had destroyed a depot for anti-ship Harpoon missiles supplied to Ukraine by NATO allies, a claim that could not be independently corroborated.

The Russians also tried to strengthen their positions in the Kherson region near Crimea and in part of the northern Zaporizhia region, which they had captured in the early stages of the conflict, fearing a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Russia is moving workers and equipment between Kherson, Mariupol and Zaporizhia. The Russians are also stepping up their security around Melitopol.

It added: “Given the pressure on Russian manpower, the reinforcement of the south as the battle for Donbass continues shows the seriousness with which Russian commanders view the threat.”

So far, the Russian military has focused its efforts on seizing control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, the Donbass, where Ukraine’s most capable and best-equipped armed forces are stationed.

Ukraine says its forces still retain control of two small villages in the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces that make up Donbass, and are successfully fending off Russian attempts to advance deeper into the second, Donetsk region.

Ukraine’s military general staff said Sunday that Ukrainian troops had thwarted Russian attempts to advance towards Sloviansk, Ukraine’s main fortress in Donetsk, and other attacks elsewhere in the region.

During a visit to the front on Saturday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave the order to “further intensify the actions of the units in all theaters of operations”.

The Russian military said it targeted Ukrainian troops and artillery positions in Donbass, including a US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launcher, in the latest series of attacks. The Russian claims could not be independently verified.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, responded to statements by Ukrainian officials that Kyiv could attack the bridge connecting Crimea and Russia, warning that this would have devastating consequences for the Ukrainian leadership .

“If that happens, the consequences will be obvious: you will be facing the end of the world right now,” Medvedev said on Sunday. “It would be very difficult for them to hide.”

While concentrating on the Donbas, the Russians hit areas across the country with rocket attacks.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians not to fall for Russia’s attempts to scare them with warnings of horrific missile attacks aimed at dividing Ukrainian society.

“It is clear that no Russian missiles or artillery will be able to break our unity or derail us from our path ‘towards a democratic, independent Ukraine,'” he said in his late-night video address to the nation. “And it is also clear that Ukrainian unity cannot be broken by lies or intimidation, fakery or conspiracy theories.”

In the Kharkov region, at least three civilians were killed and three others wounded in a dawn Russian attack on the town of Chuhuiv, just 120 kilometers from the Russian border, on Saturday, police said.

Lyudmila Krekshina, who lives in the hit apartment building, said a couple were killed, as well as an elderly man who lived on the ground floor.

Another resident said she was lucky to survive.

“I wanted to run and hide in the bathroom. I didn’t make it and that saved me,” said Valentina Bushuyeva. She pointed to her destroyed apartment and said: “There is the bathroom – explosion. Kitchen – half a room. And I survived because I stayed.”


Anna reported from Pokrovsk, Ukraine.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Russian missiles hit industrial facilities at a strategic city in southern Ukraine

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