Ukraine says Russian strike kills at least 10 in Kherson

Ukraine officials say a missile landed next to a supermarket by the city's Freedom Square

By Reuters

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A rescuer extinguishes a fire in a burning shop after Russian shelling to Ukrainian city of Kherson. — AFP
A rescuer extinguishes a fire in a burning shop after Russian shelling to Ukrainian city of Kherson. — AFP

Published: Sat 24 Dec 2022, 9:26 PM

A Russian strike on Ukraine's recently recaptured city of Kherson killed at least 10 people, wounded another 58 and left bloodied corpses on the road, authorities said, in what Kyiv condemned as wanton killing for pleasure.

Fresh from a trip to the United States seeking weapons to resist the 10-month Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky published photos showing streets strewn with burning cars, smashed windows and bodies.

"Social networks will most likely mark these photos as 'sensitive content'. But this is not sensitive content – it is the real life of Ukraine and Ukrainians," he wrote.

"These are not military facilities ... It is terror, it is killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure."

Kherson regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych told national television the death toll had risen to 10, up from seven reported earlier, Interfax Ukraine news agency said.

Yuriy Sobolevskyi, deputy chair of the regional council, said a missile landed next to a supermarket by the city's Freedom Square.

"There were civilians there, each of whom lived their own life, went about their own business," he said, noting a girl selling phone Sim cards, others unloading items from a truck, and passers-by.

There was no word from Moscow, where President Vladimir Putin says his troops are fighting fascism in Ukraine and resisting a Western threat to Russia's security.

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports from Kherson.

Ukraine retook the city, the only regional capital Russia had since its Feb. 24 invasion, in November. Since then, Kyiv says Russian forces have heavily shelled the city from across the vast Dnipro river.

Since February, Ukraine has driven Russian forces from the areas around Kyiv and second biggest city Kharkiv. Moscow is now focused on holding its occupied areas in the south and east - around a fifth of Ukraine.

Presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko said the attack came from a Grad multiple rocket launcher.

Another aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, criticised those calling for Kyiv to seek peace talks with Russia, referencing Moscow's relentless pounding of Ukraine's power grid since October.

Ukrainian officials say Moscow has already fired over 1,000 rockets at the power grid, and have warned of a bitter winter with huge deficits of power and water pumping capacity, undermining central heating in most Ukrainian homes.

"I'll remind those who propose to take into account (Russian) 'peace' initiatives: right now Russia is 'negotiating,' killing Kherson residents, wiping out Bakhmut, destroying Kyiv/Odesa grids, torturing civilians in Melitopol," Podolyak wrote.

Yanushevych had earlier shared a message from the city's blood bank calling for urgent donations.

Kyiv was still recovering from Monday's wave of missile strikes, which knocked out half the city's power supply into the next day, according to Ukraine's prime minister.

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