Ukraine says Russian strike kills at least 7 in Kherson ‘for pleasure’

Ukraine says Russian strike kills at least 7 in Kherson ‘for pleasure’

Kyiv (Reuters) – A Russian attack on the recently retaken Ukrainian city of Kherson killed at least seven people, wounded another 58 and left bloodied bodies in the streets, authorities said, in what Kyiv condemned as wanton killing for pleasure.

Fresh from a trip to the United States in search of more weapons to withstand the 10-month Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released photos showing streets littered with burning cars, smashed windows and dead bodies.

“Social networks will most likely mark these photos as ‘sensitive content’. But this is not sensitive content – it is real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians,” he wrote.

“These aren’t military installations… It’s terror, it’s killing for the purpose of intimidation and pleasure.”

Yuriy Sobolevskyi, deputy chairman of the regional council, said a rocket landed next to a supermarket on the city’s Freedom Square.

“There were civilians there, each with their own lives and their own businesses,” he said, noting the presence of a girl selling phone SIM cards, others unloading items from a truck, and bystanders.

There was no word on the incident from Moscow, where President Vladimir Putin said his troops were fighting fascism in Ukraine and fighting off a Western threat to Russia’s security.

Russia denies attacks on civilians.

Reuters was unable to independently verify Kherson’s reports.

Ukraine retook the city, the only regional capital to be captured by Russia since the February 24 invasion, in November. Kyiv says Russian forces have since been heavily shelling the city from across the vast Dnipro River.

During the course of the war, Ukraine drove Russian forces out of the areas around its capital Kyiv and the second largest city Kharkiv. Moscow is now focused on holding the areas in the south and east occupied by its forces – about a fifth of Ukraine.


While two senior officials put the number in Kherson at seven dead, the Attorney General’s Office gave a higher figure of eight. Presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said the attack came from a Grad multiple rocket launcher.

Another adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, lashed out at those who called for Kyiv to seek peace talks with Russia, citing Moscow’s relentless pounding on Ukraine’s power grid since October.

Ukrainian officials say Moscow has already launched more than 1,000 rockets at the country’s power grid, warning of a bitter winter with huge deficits in electricity and water pumping capacity that would cripple central heating in most Ukrainian homes.

I will remind those who suggest considering (Russian) ‘peace’ initiatives: right now Russia is ‘negotiating’, killing Kherson residents, wiping out Bakhmut, destroying the Kyiv/Odessa nets, torturing civilians in Melitopol,” wrote Podolyak.

“Russia wants to kill with impunity. Should we allow it?”

The governor of the Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, delivered a message from the city’s blood bank calling for urgent donations.

Kyiv was still recovering from Monday’s wave of rocket attacks, which knocked out half the city’s power supply well into the next day, according to Ukraine’s prime minister.

On Friday night, the CEO of a major energy company said the West Bank of Kyiv, where the city center and most major government buildings are located, was still seriously affected.

(Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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