A wave of Russian air strikes on cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv, has left at least 25 people dead. 23 people – including four children – were killed in an attack that hit a block of flats in the central city of Uman, officials said.
And a woman and her three-year-old daughter were killed in the city of Dnipro, according to the local mayor.
The Russian defence ministry said its military had targeted Ukrainian army reserve units with the strikes.
State-owned RIA news agency said Russia was aiming for the reserve units and used high-precision weapons on Friday.
In Uman, a town that has been largely spared Russian attack, a nine-storey apartment building partially collapsed after it was hit by a missile.
Oleksander, a 35-year-old resident of the block, said he had been woken up after he heard a powerful explosion.
“I couldn’t understand what was happening. I went to the balcony and saw glass everywhere. It was horrible,” he told the BBC.
“Russia is a terrorist state. You can see, there’s no military object here. And it happened at four o’clock in the morning, as people were sleeping”.
Another resident, 60-year-old Vanda, said she heard an explosion and “everything shook”.
“We tried to find ways to leave the building. I heard a voice of a child who was screaming in the flat next to ours. We wanted to help other people. There was smoke and fire everywhere,” she said.
“Peaceful people were just sleeping.”
More than 10 hours after the attack, rescuers were still working at the site while residents tried to retrieve some of their belongings. In nearby buildings, some residents were already fixing broken windows.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the apartment block was among 10 residential buildings that were damaged in Uman.
The state rescue service said the child killed in the city was born in 2013 and another 11 people needed hospital treatment.
Mr Zelensky said the attacks showed further international action needed to be taken against Russia.
“Evil can be stopped by weapons – our defenders are doing it. And it can be stopped by sanctions – global sanctions must be enhanced,” he said in a tweet..
The head of the Kyiv city military administration said it was the first Russian missile attack on the capital in 51 days.
There are no immediate reports of civilian casualties in the capital.
Twenty-one out of 23 missiles and two attack drones were shot down by Ukraine’s air defence system, officials said in a post on the messaging service Telegram.
The Russian-installed mayor of Donetsk said seven people were killed in the separatist-run city when Ukrainian artillery shells hit a minibus. BBC News has been unable to immediately verify the claim.
The attacks come as Ukrainian forces say they are ready to launch a military offensive with new equipment, including tanks, supplied by Western allies.
“As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders, we will do it,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov told an online news briefing on Friday.
Russia has struggled to make headway in a winter offensive including a 10-month battle for control of the strategically important city of Bakhmut.
The Russian defence ministry said on Friday its military had targeted Ukrainian army reserve units with long-range strikes using high-precision weapons, according to a report by the state-owned RIA news agency.
Moscow has previously said it does not deliberately target civilians, but thousands have been injured and killed across Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
Source : BBC