At Least 7 Dead, 117 Hurt in Russian Missile Attack

Strike hit theater in Chernihiv
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 19, 2023 10:06 AM CDT
At Least 7 Dead, 117 Hurt in Russian Missile Attack
In this photo taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Service, firefighters work on the roof of the Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theatre in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023.   (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP)

A missile attack in the center of a northern Ukrainian city killed at least seven people and wounded scores of others on Saturday, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Sweden, his first visit to the country since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. The dead in the daytime strike on the northern city of Chernihiv included a 6-year-old girl, while 12 children were among the 117 wounded, acting mayor Oleksandr Lomako said. Zelensky condemned the attack, which he said hit buildings including a theater and a university, the AP reports.

"This is what a neighborhood with a terrorist state is, this is what we unite the whole world against. A Russian missile hit right in the center of the city, in our Chernihiv," he wrote on Telegram. "A square, the polytechnic university, a theater. An ordinary Saturday, which Russia turned into a day of pain and loss." In Chernihiv, "the city's imposing theater seems to have taken a direct hit," says BBC correspondent James Waterhouse. "Tiles have been blown off the roofs of neighboring buildings with one catching fire 100 meters away. The blast force was clearly immense."

"We've learnt a drone exhibition was being staged in the area this morning. Military volunteers were among the guests," Waterhouse says. He says that while that may have been a motive for the Russian strike, "the overarching cause, however, is its continued invasion of Ukraine, where ballistic missiles landing in the heart of Ukrainian cities is a main by-product." Denise Brown, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, condemned the "heinous" attack, the Guardian reports. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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