17 Apr 2024, 20:31
Update : 17 Apr 2024, 23:42

 Russian missile barrage on Ukraine city kills 17 

          CHERNIGIV, Ukraine, April  17, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Three Russian missiles 
crashed into Ukraine's historic city of Chernigiv on Wednesday, killing 17 
people, as officials pleaded for more air defence systems from allies.

       Pools of blood gathered on the street at the scene of one strike, where 
rescuers searched for survivors in the rubble and carried away the wounded on 
stretchers, official images showed.

       Buildings and cars across the centre of the northern city were destroyed in 
the strike.

       President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has urged allies to send more missiles to 
thwart Russian aerial attacks, said Ukraine lacked the weapons it needed to 
intercept the three missiles that struck Chernigiv.

       He said he had spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the 
strike and asked for "immediate steps" to bolster Ukraine's air defences.

       Resident Olga Samoilenko told AFP how she ducked with her children into the 
corridor of their apartment building for protection when the first missile 

       "Our neighbours were already there. We started shouting for everyone to 
fall to the floor. They did. There were two more explosions. Then we ran to the 
parking lot," the 33-year-old said.

       The official death toll grew to 17 during the day, while emergency services 
said 60 people -- including three children -- had been wounded.

       "Search and rescue operations are ongoing," their statement added.
       - Zelensky questions West's resolve -
       Mayor Oleksandr Lomako said more than a dozen buildings had been damaged in 
the attack while other officials said dozens of vehicles, and medical and 
educational facilities were also damaged.

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

       AFP journalists at the scene saw a body being pulled from the rubble and an 
eight-storey hotel building gutted by the strike where municipal workers were 
using a crane to clear debris.

       Nearby apartments, a beauty salon and beer shop were among structures whose 
windows had been blown out by the attack.

       The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially 
occupied at the beginning of the Russian invasion but has been spared fighting 
for around two years since Russian forces retreated.

       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.

       Echoing the comments, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba suggested in a social 
media post that Ukraine should enjoy the same cover from aerial attacks as 
       - 'Reliable protection'  -
       "In the Middle East, we saw what reliable protection of human lives from 
missiles looks like," he added, referring to the interception of Iran's drone 
and missile barrage on Israel last Saturday.

       Kuleba 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.

       A growing chorus in Ukraine has been appealing to allied countries for more 
sophisticated air defence weapons to ward off Russian strikes on key 

       Poor weather as well as Russian attacks on Ukrainian power plants have left 
thousands in the war-scarred country with limited electricity supplies.

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

       The city -- home to some of Ukraine's oldest churches -- lies 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.

       The city was badly damaged when Russian tanks swept into Ukraine from 
Belarusian territory in February 2022 and besieged the city until April that 


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