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At least 15 dead in Ukrainian shelling of occupied city

Ukrainian shelling on the eastern occupied city of Lysychansk killed at least 15 people, Russia said, with 10 others wounded and rescue operations ongoing.

Moscow’s occupation forces said Kyiv had targeted a bakery that is popular on weekends.

The attack hit almost two years into Russia’s Ukraine offensive.

Lysychansk, a city in the Lugansk region that had a population of around 110,000 people before Moscow’s offensive, fell to Russian forces after a brutal battle in the summer of 2022.

“In Lysychansk, employees of the Russian emergency ministry pulled out 15 bodies of victims from under the rubble,” the Russian ministry said on Telegram.

It showed a video of rescuers working in the dark, pulling out one dead body from the rubble before finding a wounded woman alive and putting her on a stretcher to take her out of the heavily destroyed building.

The ministry earlier said it had pulled out 10 survivors from under the rubble and said rescue operations will continue into the night.

The Moscow-installed governor of Lugansk, Leonid Pasechnik, said earlier that Kyiv had targeted a bakery that was known to have fresh bread on weekends.

RIA Novosti published a video of a heavily damaged building, with emergency workers pulling out an entirely crushed car.

The one-storey building had a large sign on it that read “Restaurant Adriatic” and appeared entirely destroyed and covered in rubble.

The front in eastern Ukraine has barely moved in months but battles continue to be bloody with intensified attacks on both sides this winter.

The attack came as Kyiv said Russia hit it with a fresh barrage of Iranian-made drones, which targeted energy facilities in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, leaving thousands without power.

Rescuing underway

Moscow-installed authorities said one wounded man in “serious condition” was taken to hospital in the city of Lugansk.

Lysychansk lies some 15km from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Russia took control of it and its twin city of Severodonetsk in summer 2022 after some of the most brutal battles of its almost two-year offensive.

Ukraine, meanwhile, said its airforce had downed nine out of 14 Iranian-made drones Russia launched at central and southern regions Saturday.

Kyiv said most of the drones were directed at energy facilities in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, where thousands have been without power since Russian strikes yesterday.

The outages have mainly affected the main city of Krivyi Rig – the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Regional head Sergey Lysak said 15,000 people were without electricity in the city after the drone strikes.
Ukraine’s energy ministry said it was working to restore critical infrastructure.

‘Spectacular act’

Mr Zelensky, meanwhile, praised his country’s security services for hitting Moscow’s forces outside the battlefield “both at land and at sea.”

He spoke two days after Ukraine said it had destroyed a Russian warship off the Crimea peninsula and on the same day as Russia said a Ukrainian drone strike had caused a fire at an oil refinery in southern Russia.

“Russia really feels pain from your actions,” Mr Zelensky said.

On Thursday, Kyiv said it had destroyed a Russian warship – the “Ivanovets” – on Donuzlav Bay on the western coast of Crimea.

Zelensky this week praised the Ukrainian military for multiple hits against Russia

“A spectacular act,” Mr Zelensky said of the alleged downing.

“The less Russian navy in the Black Sea, the more security there is in the region and in the world,” he said.

Moscow had said earlier that a Ukrainian drone in the Russian southwestern Volgograd region had set a major oil refinery ablaze.

A Ukrainian defence source told AFP that Kyiv’s SBU security service had “organised” the attack.

“Last night, the air defence and electronic jamming repelled an attack by drones in the Volgograd region’s Kalachyovsky and Zakanalye districts,” Volgograd governor Andrei Bocharov said on Telegram.

“A fire started at the Volgograd refinery after one of the downed drones fell,” he said, adding that the fire service had already brought the blaze under control by early morning.

No one was hurt, Mr Bocharov said.

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