Rescue teams hunt for survivors of Russian missile strike on central Ukraine

Rescuers amid debris of building damaged by Russian missile attack
Rescuers work at the scene of a building in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, damaged by a deadly Russian missile attack.
(Efrem Lukatsky / Associated Press)

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs combed through debris Friday in a central Ukrainian city looking for people missing after a Russian missile strike Thursday that killed at least 23.

The cruise missile strikes on Vinnytsia, launched by a Russian submarine, were among the latest attacks to take civilian lives and fan international outrage since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion Feb. 24.

Late Friday, cruise missiles fired by Russian strategic bombers struck a southeastern Ukrainian city, killing at least three people and wounding 15, as air raid sirens went off across the country, officials said.


Russia’s military campaign has been focusing on the Donbas in Ukraine’s east, but Russian forces also have been pounding other parts of the country in a relentless push to wrest territory from Ukraine and weaken the morale of its leaders, civilians and troops as the war nears the five-month mark.

Ukraine’s air force said several Kh-101 cruise missiles fired from Tu-95MS strategic bombers over the Caspian Sea hit a factory about 10 p.m. in Dnipro, a major city on the Dnieper River. Four incoming missiles were intercepted, it said. Videos posted on social media showed fiery explosions and towering plumes of dark smoke.

The regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said the missiles killed at least three people and wounded 15.

Airstrikes also were reported in Kremenchuk, another city along the Dnieper River, south of Kyiv.

Even as the fighting raged, Russia noted signs of progress in talks on a deal to allow Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain via the Black Sea that could help feed a world facing higher food prices.

About 22 million tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine because of the war.

Alluding to talks this week in Istanbul among Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said a final document had been prepared, and Russian proposals to ease grain shipments through Ukrainian ports have been “largely supported” by other participants.


Konashenkov said work on a document called the “Black Sea Initiative” was set to be completed “in the nearest time.” The Russian proposal would allow shipments of food “while excluding the use of those logistical chains for the deliveries of weapons and military equipment” to Ukraine. He said the plan seeks to “prevent any provocations.”

Eastern Ukraine: War has shattered homes and lives, and there’s no end in sight.

July 14, 2022

That was the most extensive Russian comment yet on the grain talks, which mostly involved military officials. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Russia and Ukraine had taken “a critical step” to ensuring exports of grain to help ease a global food crisis — but said more technical work toward finalizing a deal was needed.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Friday that Russian forces had conducted more than 17,000 strikes on civilian targets during the war, killing thousands of fighters and civilians and driving millions from their homes. The invasion has rippled through the world economy by hiking prices and crimping exports of grain and other key Ukrainian and Russian products, such as fuel and fertilizer.

More than 73 people — including four children — remained hospitalized, and 18 people were missing after Thursday’s strike, said Oleksandr Kutovyi, spokesman for the emergency service in the Vinnytsia region. Search teams were combing two sites Friday: an office building with a medical center inside and a concert hall near an outdoor recreation area and park, where parents often stroll with children.

Ukraine’s track and field athletes believe there is power in claiming territory, whether around battered cities or atop an awards podium.

July 14, 2022

Vinnytsia Gov. Serhiy Borzov said only 10 people among the nearly two dozen killed had been identified so far.

“Russia deliberately hit civilians, and all those responsible for the crime must be brought to account,” he said, denouncing the “barbaric behavior by Russia that tramples on international humanitarian law.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy head of the president’s office, said three missiles were used.

“There is no answer to the question why yesterday and why in Vinnytsia,” Tymoshenko said. “We expect every second and minute that this could happen in any corner of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian soldiers returning from the front in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas describe the situation there as apocalyptic in the fight against Russia.

July 4, 2022

After an initial silence regarding the strikes on Vinnytsia, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday that its forces had struck an officers club — which the concert hall was known for in Soviet times.

Ministry spokesman Konashenkov said the Kalibr cruise missiles landed as “that military facility hosted a meeting between Ukrainian air force command and representatives of foreign weapons suppliers.” He said attendees of the meeting were discussing prospective supplies of warplanes and weapons, as well as work to repair Ukrainian aircraft.

“Participants of the meeting were eliminated in the strike,” Konashenkov said.

His claim couldn’t be independently verified. Ukrainian authorities insisted that the site had nothing to do with the military.

Ukraine’s presidential office said Friday morning that 26 civilians overall had been killed and another 190 wounded by Russian shelling over the previous 24 hours; that included three other victims in the Donetsk region. Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk — which is nearly totally controlled by Russian forces — make up the broader Donbas region.

“The situation in the Donetsk region is [worsening] every day, and civilians must leave, because the Russian army is using scorched-earth tactics,” Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said. It appeared that the cities of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk were next in line for strikes by Russian forces, but it wasn’t clear how soon such a push could begin in earnest.

Elsewhere, authorities in the southern city of Mykolaiv said there were at least 10 explosions overnight and accused the Russians of hitting universities. Vitaliy Kim, head of Mykolaiv’s military administration, posted to social media a video of smoke rising over the strikes.

Separately, the Russian news agency Tass, citing Russian-backed separatists, reported Friday that two civilians were killed and six others injured after Ukrainian forces allegedly shelled a bus terminal in the Voroshilovsky District of the city of Donetsk a day earlier.

A Ukrainian filmmaker records the voices of war. She listens to Ukrainians and Russians in collecting a haunting oral history of the conflict.

July 8, 2022

Also Friday, Daria Morozova, the human rights ombudsperson for the Moscow-backed separatist leadership in Donetsk, said a British “mercenary” died in captivity Sunday. She said the man, whom she identified as Paul Urey, died of chronic illnesses and stress.

“From our side, he was given the necessary medical assistance, despite the grave crimes he committed,” she said.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was “urgently seeking clarification from the Russian government on media reports that a British aid worker has died in Ukraine.”

However, the Presidium Network, an aid organization that works in Ukraine, said the British government had confirmed Urey’s death to his family.