‘At least 17 people killed by Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia’

At least 17 people have been killed by Russian missile strikes on the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s defence ministry says.

Dozens more were wounded, and several residential buildings destroyed.

The city is under Ukrainian control, but it is part of a region that Russia says it annexed last month.

Zaporizhzhia has been hit repeatedly in recent weeks, as Russia hits back at urban areas after suffering defeats in the south and north-east of Ukraine.

Parts of the Zaporizhzhia region, including its nuclear power plant – which is around 52km (30 miles) from the city – have been under Russian control since early in the invasion.

The BBC‘s Paul Adams, who was recently in the city, says the buildings struck are not obvious military targets and the attacks seem entirely indiscriminate.More than 60 civilians are understood to have been killed in and around Zaporizhzhia in the past nine days.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky called the shelling “merciless strikes on peaceful people again”.

“Absolute meanness,” he said. “Absolute evil. Savages and terrorists. From the one who gave this order to everyone who fulfiled this order. They will bear responsibility. For sure. Before the law and before people.”

The Ukrainian regional governor in Zaporizhzhia, Oleksandr Starukh, said 12 Russian missiles had partially destroyed a nine-storey building, and levelled five other residential buildings.

“There may be more people under the rubble. A rescue operation is underway at the scene. Eight people have already been rescued,” he said on Telegram.Survivors of the strikes have spoken of the moment they were woken by the blasts.

Kateryna Ivanova and her family were forced to run to the bathroom as their apartment was filled with smoke, she told AFP news agency.

Another resident, 38-year-old Lyudmyla, told Reuters news agency how she rushed to wake up her children and move them to safety after a “roaring” blast “completely destroyed” the door to her home.

Her 10-year-old son, Bohdan, described the missile strike as “horrific” and said he was woken by the sound of screaming. –BBC/AFP/Reuters

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