Sixty people have been killed after a village school in eastern Ukraine took a direct hit in a Russian air raid, with rescue attempts said by the regional governor to be impossible due to constant shelling.
Russian attacks in the east and south intensified at the weekend, with the Black Sea city of Odesa coming under repeated missile strikes and the remaining Ukrainian fighters in the Azovstal steelworks in the besieged port city of Mariupol staging a press conference on Sunday saying they had been “abandoned” by the government as Russian attacks continued
About 90 people had been using the school in Bilohorivka, a village 60 miles (97km) north-west of the Russian-controlled city of Luhansk, as a shelter after the previous place of refuge, a club house, had been destroyed in an earlier attack.
Serhiy Gaidai, the Luhansk governor, told the Guardian he believed the 30 people who escaped had been outside in the grounds of the building. He said he had little hope for those who were under rubble.
“Unfortunately, they are probably dead,” he said. “Because the building collapsed. Besides, an air bomb is not a missile, its explosion produces extremely high temperatures. That’s why most likely people haven’t survived.”
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has stated he intends to take the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions by 9 May when Russia marks Victory Day and the defeat of Nazi Germany.
In an address to mark Ukraine’s 8 May remembrance and reconciliation day, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said his country paid homage to all those who helped defeat Adolf Hitler but accused Russia of repeating his crimes.
He said: “Every year on 8 May, together with the entire civilised world, we honour everyone who defended the planet from Nazism during world war two. Millions of lost lives, crippled destinies, tortured souls and millions of reasons to say to evil: never again!