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Russian strike on a market killed 2 women, Ukraine says

By MATTHEW MPOKE BIGG


A Russian missile slammed into a market in northeastern Ukraine on Monday, killing two women and wounding several other people including a girl, Ukrainian officials said, in an attack that underscored the dangers still faced by civilians in areas where Russian forces have retreated.


At least one missile struck the market around 9:10 a.m. local time in the town of Shevchenkove in Kharkiv province, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said in a post on Telegram, a social messaging app.


Oleg Sinegubov, head of the military administration in Kharkiv region, said on Telegram that the women who died were in their 50s and 60s. A 13-year-old girl was critically wounded in the neck by shrapnel, and five other people were also injured, he said, adding that more people might be under the rubble. The prosecutor’s office earlier had listed the girl’s age as 10 years old, though conflicting information is common in the immediate aftermath of an attack.


Images of the market posted on Twitter revealed carnage and destruction. They showed flames leaping from a row of small shops while bystanders stood at a distance, and a broken refrigerator and a metal saucepan at the bottom of a deep crater in front of a shattered market stall. One photograph showed men trying to retrieve possessions from a shop whose wooden and metal front had been blasted to splinters.


“Another missile attack, another terror,” Ruslan Stefanchuk, chair of Ukraine’s parliament, wrote in a post on Twitter. “Once again, this is a war with the civilian population! Despicable non-humans!”


The prosecutor’s office, which has worked to document each Russian attack with a view to prosecutions, said it had opened an investigation.


Shevchenkove, which is about 45 miles southeast of the regional capital, was one of many in Kharkiv province that Russian forces occupied for months until late summer, when Ukrainian troops launched a rapid push in the northeast, shifting momentum in the war in their favor.


Many residents of the region have recounted stories of abuse, torture and killings under Russian occupation. But the suffering didn’t stop when the Russian forces withdrew. Civilians have been blown up by land mines, apparently sown by retreating Russian forces, and towns have continued to be targets for Russian strikes.


The market in Shevchenkove was hit by an S-300 missile fired from the other side of the border with Russia, in the region of Belgorod, according to a Telegram post from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office.


In a daily report Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had hit military targets in Kharkiv region but did not refer to Shevchenkove itself.


Ukrainian officials reported other attacks targeting civilians Monday.


Shelling killed one person and critically wounded another in the southern city of Kherson, which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November, according to Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the regional military administration. And in Ochakiv, in the southern region of Mykolaiv, a rocket attack damaged more than 100 houses and sent eight people to the hospital, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, wrote on Telegram. A local official also said a hospital in Ochakiv had been damaged.

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