Russian strike on Ukraine’s Chernigiv kills 13 people

A Russian strike on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernigiv killed 13 people and wounded dozens more on Wednesday, as Kyiv sounded the alarm over shortages in its air defence capabilities.

Ukrainian rescuers clear the rubble of a destroyed building following a missile attack in Chernigiv on April 17, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP)

First responders searched for survivors in the rubble, carrying away the wounded on stretchers as pools of blood formed on the ground near the scene of the attack, official images showed.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been urging allies to send more missiles to thwart Russian air attacks, said Ukraine had lacked sufficient air defences to intercept the three missiles that struck Chernigiv.

Another 61 people including two children were wounded, the emergency services said in its latest toll of casualties.

“Three people were rescued from the rubble. People are likely still trapped under the rubble of the partially destroyed building,” the statement said.

A 25-year-old policewoman on sick leave was among those killed after suffering a severe shrapnel injury, the interior minister announced separately.

“Many multi-storey buildings were damaged,” the regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus said on state-run television.

“Civilian infrastructure is damaged. Dozens of vehicles have been destroyed.”

The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the beginning of Russia’s invasion but has been spared fighting on its territory for around two years since Moscow’s army withdrew.

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– Zelensky criticises Western resolve –

Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack but also said the West should do more to help defend Ukraine’s skies.

“This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defence equipment and if the world’s determination to resist Russian terror had been sufficient,” he said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba echoed the comments in a separate post on social media and suggested that Ukraine should enjoy the same cover from aerial attacks as Israel.

“In the Middle East, we saw what reliable protection of human lives from missiles looks like,” he added, referring to Iran’s drone and missile barrage on Israel that was intercepted by Western and Israeli forces.

Kuleba also thanked Germany for agreeing to supply Ukraine with another Patriot air defence system and said he would appeal to other countries at a G7 meeting this week for more weapons.

Their comments added to a growing chorus in Ukraine appealing to allied countries to supply more sophisticated air defence weapons to ward off the regular Russian strikes on key infrastructure.

There had been a direct hit to an infrastructure facility but it was not linked to energy production, the mayor said.

Chernigiv, which lies some 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, had a pre-war population of around 285,000 people.

The historical hub is hundreds of kilometres from the front line but has occasionally been targeted in long-range Russian strikes.

In August last year, seven people were killed in a Russian missile attack on a theatre hosting an exhibition on drones.

Many buildings in the city were damaged when Russian tanks swept into Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022 and besieged the city until April that year.

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