KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Three people were killed and six others were injured when a Russian missile hit a five-story apartment building in a city in southeastern Ukraine on Thursday, police said, as the war extended into its second year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said several floors of the building were destroyed in the strike, which occurred while it was still dark.
The State Emergency Service said in an online statement that it had rescued 11 people so far.
Zaporizhzhia is a large city that had a population of more than 700,000 before Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor just over a year ago. It is the administrative capital of the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region, which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
Russian artillery, drones and missiles have pounded Ukrainian-held areas in the country’s south and east for months. Moscow denies aiming at civilian targets, but its indiscriminate shelling has wrought wide destruction in urban centers.
The war largely slowed to a grinding stalemate during the winter months.
Zelenskyy said Russia “wants to turn every day for our people into a day of terror.” He added: “But evil will not reign in our land.”
Meanwhile, a fierce battle continued for control of Bakhmut, a key eastern stronghold where Ukrainian officials say they might strategically withdraw.
Ukraine’s General Staff reported that the Russian forces “continue to advance and storm the city,” but Kyiv’s troops repelled some of the attacks on the ruined city. Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko reported one person was wounded in Bakhmut on Thursday morning.
Bakhmut was among cities and villages in the Donetsk region that came under Russian shelling, according to the General Staff update.
Taking the city could not only give the Russian forces a rare battlefield gain after months of setbacks but might rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and allow the Kremlin’s forces to press toward other Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.