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Russian missile attack on Ukraine kills at least 11 in Zelenskiy’s hometown

Tuesday’s attack in Kryvyi Rih comes as Ukrainian forces are in the early stages of a counteroffensive, more than 15 months after Russia invaded

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike
Rescuers work at a site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, June 13, 2023.ALINA SMUTKO (REUTERS)

Russian missiles rained down in a central Ukrainian city overnight, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than two dozen in a warehouse and an apartment building, regional officials said Tuesday.

The attack in Kryvyi Rih, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s hometown, comes as Ukrainian forces are in the early stages of a counteroffensive to try to drive Russian forces from about one-fifth of Ukrainian territory that they now occupy — more than 15 months after invading the country.

Russian forces have unleashed overnight missile strikes repeatedly against targets across Ukraine in recent weeks, and Tuesday’s toll was among the highest from a single attack. In late April, missile strikes hit an apartment building in the central city of Uman, killing 23 people, including six children.

Images from the latest missile attack relayed by Zelenskiy on his Telegram channel showed firefighters battling a blaze as flames poked through broken windows in the damaged apartment building. Charred and damaged vehicles littered the nearby ground.

“More terrorist missiles,” he wrote. “Russian killers continue their war against residential buildings, ordinary cities and people.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian forces used long-range air-launched cruise missiles to hit Ukrainian military reserves and depots holding Western weapons and ammunition.

The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Serhiy Lysak, wrote on Telegram that the bodies of seven people were recovered from a private company’s warehouse, and “another four destinies were cut short” at the apartment building. He said search operations had been called off.

Kryvyi Rih Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said on the social media app that 28 people were wounded.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, meanwhile, was attacked with Iranian-made Shahed drones, and the surrounding region was shelled, local Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram. The shelling wounded two civilians in the town of Shevchenkove, southeast of Kharkiv, and a drone strike damaged two buildings in Kharkiv.

The Kyiv military administration reported that the capital came under fire as well on Tuesday, but the incoming missiles were destroyed by air defenses and there were no immediate reports of any casualties there.

Air defenses overnight shot down 10 out of 14 cruise missiles and one of four Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russian forces, Ukraine’s General Staff said on its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, told Ukrainian TV that its forces are continuing their offensive in four areas in the south and east.

The head of Ukraine’s ground troops said the country’s forces were “moving forward” outside Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s east. Oleksandr Syrskyi wrote on Telegram that Russian forces are “losing positions on the flanks.”

For weeks, Ukrainian officials have been reporting small gains west of Bakhmut, which was largely devastated in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle before Moscow’s forces took control last month.

The advances have amounted to only small bits of territory and underscore the difficulty of the battle ahead for Ukrainian forces, who will have to fight meter by meter to regain the roughly one-fifth of their country under Russian occupation.

Over the last day, nearly a dozen front-line towns and villages in Ukrainian-held areas of Donetsk came under increased shelling as Ukrainian troops pushed forward, Zelenskiy’s office said.

Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed administration for parts of Zaporizhzhia that Russia controls, alleged that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had failed, and told state news agency RIA-Novosti that Ukrainian forces “continue to suffer colossal losses when they make new attempts to advance.” He did not elaborate, and his claims could not be immediately verified.

Also Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry published a video showing what it said was a German-made Leopard 2 tank and U.S.-made Bradley fighting vehicle captured from Ukrainian forces. According to the ministry, the video was shot by Russian soldiers after fierce fighting in Zaporizhzhia, and a soldier is seen pointing at the immobilized vehicles. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify the video’s authenticity.

On Monday, Maliar, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister, said the country’s troops had recaptured a total of seven villages spanning 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of eastern Ukraine over the past week, small successes in the early phases of a counteroffensive.

Russian officials didn’t confirm those Ukrainian gains, which were impossible to verify and could be reversed in the to-and-fro of war.

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