A six-year-old girl has been killed and her mother seriously injured after a Russian missile hit the central square of the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, killing at least seven people and injuring 90.
Announcing the death, Ukrainian officials said police provided first aid but the child had “very severe blood loss”.
Interior Ministry chief Ihor Klimenko said: “TThe doctors couldn’t save her.
Officials say at least seven people were killed as a result of the strike which hit a university building and destroyed the roof of a theatre. Some 90 people were injured, including 12 children, 10 police officers and 25 had to be hospitalized.
Residents were on their way to church to celebrate a religious holiday when the town came under fire, the ministry said. After being liberated from Russian occupation, the city had been largely spared major attacks as heavy fighting raged to the east and south.
A man sits near the body of a local resident at the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Chernihiv on Saturday
Firefighters work on a roof of the Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater after it was destroyed in the Russian attack
National Police of Ukraine, firefighters work at Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater damaged by Russian attack in Chernihiv
Continuing to provide updates on the strike on Telegram, Klymenko said another of those killed as a woman whose body was discovered amid the rubble.
He also said a 12-year-old girl was rushed to Kyiv by ambulance. The minister said she was “in serious condition”.
“A Russian missile hit right in the center of the city, in our Chernihiv. A square, the polytechnic university, a theatre,” President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was on a working visit to Sweden, said on Telegram.
“An ordinary Saturday, which Russia turned into a day of pain and loss. »
The Ukrainian President added: “This is what a neighborhood with a terrorist state is, this is what we unite the whole world against.
A short video accompanying Zelenskiy’s post showed debris strewn across a square in front of a large Soviet-era building. Cars parked around the theater were partially destroyed, roofs broken and windows blown out.
A body could also be briefly seen in the video slumped inside a car.
Fire engines were seen outside the building as emergency services responded to the strike.
The Chernihiv center has since been closed to allow emergency services access to the area.
An ambulance is pictured near the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Chernihiv
The Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater is seen damaged by a Russian attack in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Saturday
Firefighters rush to the scene in Chernihiv where the missile strike took place
A car is seen smashed and damaged after Russia’s strike on the northern Ukrainian town
Firefighters work on the roof of Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater damaged by Russian attack in Chernihiv
A man sits near a covered corpse after the Russian attack in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Saturday
Writing on a telegram, regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus said the attack was “probably a ballistic missile”.
Russia has attacked Ukrainian towns far from the front line with missiles and drones as part of its full-scale invasion launched in February 2022.
Chernihiv is located near the Belarusian border. It was occupied by Russian forces at the start of Moscow’s assault on Ukraine, then liberated and recaptured by Kyiv forces.
The city is full of leafy boulevards and centuries-old churches. It lies about 145 km (90 miles) north of the capital kyiv.
The Chernihiv attack came after Putin met Russia’s top generals on a rare trip to the operational center of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, while Volodymyr Zelensky visited in Sweden.
Russia attacked Ukrainian towns far from the front line with missiles and drones as part of the invasion it launched in February last year.
The Kyiv Air Force said on Saturday morning that the Ukrainian military shot down 15 of 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Moscow in a night strike.
Amid the strike on the Ukrainian city, Russia claimed on Saturday that it foiled a Kiev drone attack on a military airfield in the Novgorod region, a previously untargeted area between Moscow and St Petersburg.
“Today around 10 a.m. Moscow time, the Kiev regime carried out a terrorist attack using a helicopter-like drone on a military airfield in the Novgorod region,” the military said. Russian in a statement. He said he was shot “with small arms.”
An emergency service worker stands at the site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Chernihiv
A view shows the site of a Russian missile strike, where five were killed and dozens were injured
Rescuers are pictured working in the area where a missile hit the Drama Theater in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Saturday
Hours before the strike, the Kremlin said Putin had traveled to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don to meet with his top generals in a rare trip close to combat zones.
Putin’s meeting with Moscow’s top military brass came after Kiev claimed some success on the battlefield this week and a day after the United States approved the transfer of Dutch and Danish F fighter jets -16 in Kyiv.
Moscow gave no details on when the meeting took place, but footage released by state media said it was at night.
“Vladimir Putin held a meeting at the headquarters of the special military operations group in Rostov-on-Don,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
“The Head of State listened to the briefings of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, the commanders of the directorates and other senior officers of the group. »
A video published by the RIA Novosti news agency showed Putin, dressed in a suit, getting out of a jeep in the dark and greeted with a handshake by Gerasimov, in military uniform.
Gerasimov leads Putin down a hallway decorated with portraits of Russian servicemen and the president presiding over a meeting with army chiefs.
Rostov-on-Don was also the scene of a spectacular armed mutiny by the Wagnerian mercenaries in June, which saw them briefly take control of the army headquarters in Rostov, before halting their rebellion.
Gerasimov, whom Wagner wanted to overthrow, has rarely been seen in public since.