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Search operations continue after deadly Russian attacks on Ukraine’s Vinnytsia

#Search #operations #continue #deadly #Russian #attacks #Ukraines #Vinnytsia

Ukrainian rescuers continued search operations in downtown Vinnytsia on Friday, where Russian attacks killed at least 23 people, including children.

The charred remains of overturned cars surrounded by burned debris were seen in images distributed by officials hundreds of kilometers from the front lines after Thursday’s attack on the city.

In his daily address to the nation late Thursday, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said the toll is likely to increase. Dozens are still missing and many are hospitalized in critical condition.

“No other country in the world poses such a terrorist threat as Russia,” said a gloomy Zelenskyy.

“No other country in the world allows itself to destroy peaceful cities and ordinary human life on a daily basis with cruise missiles and rocket artillery.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the attack, while the European Union condemned it as an “atrocity”. Both demanded accountability.

The president’s office said in its morning military report on Friday that 18 people were still missing after the strikes in Vinnytsia and 73 were hospitalized with injuries.

Ukrainian rescuers said they continued clearing debris Friday and over four hundred people were involved in the operations.

Ukrainian officials have identified one of the victims as a four-year-old girl named Liza, who was outside with her mother during the attack.

Liza’s mother is alive but in “critical” condition after the operation, Vinnytsia official Sergiy Borzov said.

On Thursday, Zelenskyy observed a minute’s silence during a speech in The Hague before urging officials from the European and International Criminal Courts (ICC) to open a “special tribunal” on the Russian invasion.

“I believe it is inevitable that (the) International Criminal Court will hold accountable those guilty of crimes under its jurisdiction – war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide.”

– War Crimes Tribunal –

The ICC in The Hague launched an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine just days after Moscow forces invaded, dispatching dozens of investigators to the country to collect evidence.

Russia invaded on February 24 and the conflict has killed thousands, destroyed cities and forced millions to flee.

“Every day Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, launches rocket attacks on civilian installations where there is no military target. What is this if not an open act of terrorism?” said Zelenskyy on Thursday after the attack on Vinnytsia.

Deadly strikes in central Ukraine have become relatively rare, but the war rages on in cities like Mykolayiv in the south, where strikes ravaged two universities, officials said Friday morning.

“(Russia) attacked two of the largest universities in Mykolaiv. At least 10 rockets,” regional head Vitaliy Kim said on Twitter.

In his tweet, he shared video of large plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky from one of the city’s buildings.

The city’s mayor, Oleksandr Sienkevych, said two people were injured in the attacks but there were no casualties.

However, the heaviest fighting in Ukraine has recently been concentrated in the industrial Donbass region in the east.

– ‘Purge’ from Siversk –

Moscow-backed separatists said Friday they were closing in on Siversk — their next target after seizing control of the twin cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk two weeks ago.

“The Ukrainian command has decided to gradually withdraw its units from the city of Siversk,” Andrey Marochko, a spokesman for the separatists, told the Russian state news agency TASS.

A Donetsk separatist official, Daniil Versonov, said their fighters were working in small groups to “clear” the eastern districts of Siversk.

AFP has not been able to independently verify these claims.

– Grain talks with high stakes –

Delegations from Kyiv and Moscow met in Istanbul this week to discuss unblocking Ukraine’s grain exports.

The meeting between representatives of the UN and Turkey ended after more than three hours with an agreement to meet again next week in Turkey.

Zelenskyi said “the whole world” is counting on the negotiations to finalize a deal.

The conflict has pushed up grain prices and Europe is suffering from skyrocketing energy bills, a result of sanctions against Russia and Moscow’s measures to limit gas supplies to Europe.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday Russia’s war in Ukraine poses the “biggest challenge” to the global economy as G20 ministers prepare to start talks in Indonesia.

The European Commission, meanwhile, lowered growth forecasts for the euro zone and said the fallout from the war in Ukraine would continue to destabilize the economy due to record-high inflation.

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