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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Russia hits Mykolaiv with another ‘massive’ attack, officials say

Fires spreading in a wheat field after an attack in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine on Saturday in a photo released by the Ukraine Emergency Service.

By Cora Engelbrecht

At least 10 Russian missiles rained down on Mykolaiv on Sunday, according to Ukrainian officials, in the second significant attack on the southern port city in two days.

The spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, Natalia Humeniuk, said the “massive attack” in the early morning hours set off fires and damaged industrial infrastructure in “multiple districts” of the city, according to Ukrinform, a Ukrainian news agency.

“As a result of rocket strikes, buildings were destroyed and fires started,” the city’s mayor, Oleksandr Sienkevych, said in a Telegram post, adding that rescue efforts were underway.

Ukraine’s Emergency Services said in a statement that it had extinguished three fires “which occurred as a result of falling ammunition and debris” from shelling in districts across the city.

There was no immediate information on casualties from the barrage of missiles, which were just the latest in an ongoing Russian assault on Mykolaiv.

The city has been under fire since the war began in late February due to its strategic location. It lies on a river that drains into the Black Sea, where Russia has established naval dominance, and it sits just west of the city of Kherson, which Russia controls.

Another volley of at least 10 Russian missiles hit two universities, a hotel and mall in Mykolaiv on Friday.

The leader of the regional military administration, Vitaliy Kim, posted a video on social media Sunday at the time that he said was of the strikes, showing dark palls of smoke rising above the city. “Now they attack our education,” he said. The strike took place at 7:50 a.m., he said, adding that the Russians knew “full well that there were already many people on the streets at that time.”

The nearly back-to-back attacks appeared to follow a pattern of strikes by Russian forces on civilian targets and infrastructure, including in areas that are not directly on the front lines. On Thursday, a Russian missile strike on the central city of Vinnytsia killed at least 23 people, including three children.

Last month, Mykolaiv’s mayor said the city was being shelled every day and urged civilians to leave. About 230,000 people remain there, less than half of its peacetime population, he said, most of them older residents and those who have health conditions that make travel difficult.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has used his nightly address in recent days to denounce Russian strikes in areas that put civilians in danger, referring to the strikes as acts of terrorism, and to call on allies to send more help.

On Sunday, he said on Twitter that he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and thanked him for defense support against Russia.

“After the terrorist attacks in Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv, Chasiv Yar, etc.” Zelenskyy wrote, “the pressure must be increased, not decreased.”

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