Residents clear debris outside a damaged building the day after a Russian missile strike in downtown Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on Friday. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE
July 15 (BP) — Ukrainian officials accused Russia of primarily targeting civilians in military attacks, including this week’s strike on the city of Vinnytsia, which killed some two dozen people.
Oleksandr Motuzianyk, spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, said Russia’s attacks on peaceful cities is proof of its attempt at genocide. He said 70% of Russian strikes have targeted civilian objects in Ukraine.
One such attack, he said, happened in the west-central city of Vinnytsia on Thursday. Local officials said Russian missiles hit a nine-story office building and caused damage to residential buildings. Of those killed, at least three were children.
“Yesterday’s insidious criminal missile attack on the center of a peaceful city in Ukraine is yet another fact of Russia’s absolutely proven genocide against Ukraine,” Motuzianyk said, according to Ukrinform.
“This is the extermination of Ukrainians as a nation, this is an attempt to break the spirit of Ukrainians and lower the level of their resistance.”
The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said it targeted a meeting between Ukrainian air force officials and foreign arms suppliers in its Vinnytsia attack, according to The Moscow Times.
The officials discussed the “transfer of the next batch of aircraft and destructive weapons to the armed forces of Ukraine, as well as the organization of repair for the Ukrainian aviation fleet,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a post on Telegram.
“As a result of the strike, the participants of the meeting were destroyed.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nightly televised address Thursday, accused Russia of “terrorism.”
“It is a killer state. A terrorist state.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Friday that the country lost its highest number of civilians in May.
“Then the advantage of the enemy was the greatest, especially in the Donbas direction — they used up to a thousand artillery shells per hour,” he told the BBC. “It was intense pressure, and we didn’t have the opportunity to respond to them, we didn’t have that many shots.
Reznikov also tweeted Friday that the Ukrainian military has received M270 long-range multiple rocket launch systems from allies in Norway and Britain.
“In the month of May, unfortunately, up to a hundred boys and girls were killed, and up to 300-400 were injured.”
In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces launched an attack Friday on the city of Mykolaiv.
“There was another massive shelling of Mykolaiv city this morning,” said Hanna Zamazeyeva, head of the city’s regional council. “At least 10 rockets hit two of our universities and civil infrastructure objects. Residential buildings were damaged. Four people were injured in the attack.”
The European Commission on Friday proposed new sanctions banning imports of Russian gold.
“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen said. “Therefore, we are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”