At least 17 people were killed, and numerous others were injured when a barrage of Russian missiles shattered apartment buildings and houses in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, according to Ukrainian officials on Sunday as Moscow struggled to impose its control over unlawfully acquired territory.
According to the Ukrainian air force, six missiles fired in Russian-occupied regions of the Zaporizhzhia region were responsible for the explosions that caused at least one high-rise residential building to fall and blast out the windows of others.
This is one of four regions that Russia has claimed as its own in the past month, although the regional capital is still under Ukrainian control.
The numerous attacks followed the partial collapse of a bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula with Russia on Saturday due to an explosion.
The strike on the Kerch Bridge destroyed a vital supply line for the Kremlin’s waning war campaign in Ukraine and a colossal representation of Russia’s might in the area.
Residents in shock observed emergency personnel attempting to access the upper levels of a direct hit building from behind police tape.
In the place where apartments had stood, the attack caused several levels to fall, leaving a smoking hole at least 40 feet wide. A few hours later, the upper stories also collapsed.
The barrage tore hundreds of feet worth of windows and doors off of the frames in a neighboring residential building.
According to Anatoliy Kurtev, secretary of the local council, at least 40 individuals were sent to the hospital, and at least 50 apartment complexes and private residences were destroyed.
Mucola Markovich, a 76-year-old resident of Zaporizhzhia, claimed that he and his wife hid under a blanket when they heard approaching missiles and explosion booms.
He narrated, “There was one explosion, then another.” Then, in a split second, their apartment on the fourth story was gone, Markovich recounted, fighting back the tears.
Russian officials did not respond to inquiries about the strikes right away.
Following the acquisition of the Zaporizhzhia province by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Russia has regularly shelled the city bearing the same name.
Russian missile attacks on city residential buildings on Thursday resulted in at least 19 fatalities.
Before Saturday’s explosion on the Crimea bridge, Russia had targeted Zaporizhzhia; however, the strike on the 12-mile-long crossing was a severe setback to Moscow.
Following a hurried local vote, Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, prompting sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
In May 2018, Putin personally inaugurated the $3.7 million Kerch Bridge by driving a truck across it to represent Moscow’s claims to the Crimean peninsula.
The longest bridge in Europe is crucial in maintaining Russian military activities in southern Ukraine.
Russian tourists frequently visit the Crimean Peninsula, which has a Russian naval facility. 50,000 tourists, according to a Russian tourist organization, were in Crimea on Saturday.
Putin issued a directive late on Saturday night reinforcing security for the bridge and energy infrastructure connecting Crimea and Russia, and he assigned responsibility for the task to the FSB, Russia’s federal security organization.