Berliner Tageblatt - Russian strike on Ukraine city kills 14

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Russian strike on Ukraine city kills 14
Russian strike on Ukraine city kills 14 / Photo: © UKRAINIAN EMERGENCY SERVICE/AFP

Russian strike on Ukraine city kills 14

A Russian strike on the historic city of Chernigiv in northern Ukraine killed 14 people and wounded dozens more on Wednesday, as Kyiv pleaded for allies to bolster its over-stretched air defence systems.

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First responders searched for survivors in the rubble and carried away the wounded on stretchers as pools of blood formed on the ground near the scene of the attack, official images showed.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has urged allies to send more missiles to thwart Russian air attacks, said Ukraine lacked the weapons needed to intercept the three cruise missiles that struck Chernigiv.

Its mayor Oleksandr Lomako gave the latest death toll in a social media post and said 61 people had been injured, a figure that officials earlier said included several children.

"The search and rescue operation is underway," Lomako added, noting that 16 buildings had been damaged in the attack. Other officials said dozens of vehicles were also destroyed.

A 25-year-old policewoman on sick leave was among those killed after suffering a severe shrapnel injury, the interior minister announced separately.

AFP journalists at the scene saw an eight-storey hotel building gutted in parts by the strike and nearby apartments, a beauty salon and beer shop with their windows blown out.

The Chernigiv region, which borders Belarus to the north, was partially occupied at the beginning of the invasion but has been spared fighting on its territory for around two years since Russian forces retreated.

- Zelensky questions Western resolve -

Zelensky blamed Russia for the attack but also said the West should do more to help defend Ukraine's skies.

"This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defence equipment and if the world's determination to resist Russian terror had been sufficient," he said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba echoed those comments on social media and suggested that Ukraine should enjoy the same cover from aerial attacks as Israel.

"In the Middle East, we saw what reliable protection of human lives from missiles looks like," he added, referring to Iran's drone and missile barrage on Israel that was intercepted by Western and Israeli forces.

Kuleba also thanked Germany for agreeing to supply Ukraine with another Patriot air defence system and said he would appeal to other countries at a G7 meeting this week for more weapons.

A growing chorus in Ukraine has been appealing to allied countries for more sophisticated air defence weapons to ward off Russian strikes on key infrastructure.

There had been a direct hit to an infrastructure facility but it was not linked to energy production, the mayor said.

Poor weather as well as Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy production facilities have left thousands in the war-scarred country with limited electricity supplies.

Chernigiv lies some 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and had a pre-war population of around 285,000 people.

The city -- home to some of Ukraine's oldest churches -- lies hundreds of kilometres from the front line but has occasionally been targeted in long-range Russian strikes.

In August last year, seven people were killed in a Russian missile attack on a theatre hosting an exhibition on drones.

The city was badly damaged when Russian tanks swept into Ukraine from Belarusian territory in February 2022 and besieged the city until April that year.