At least seven people have died and around 90 are injured after Russian forces struck a large Ukrainian city and a key government building, the morning after a wave of night attacks across the country.
The brunt of the deaths this morning were in the city of Chernihiv, as Russian missiles hit a university and theatre killing six people, including a six-year-old girl.
Further 90 people, including 12 children and 10 police officers, were injured, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said.
An earlier deadly blast rocked the vicinity of the Internal Affairs Ministry’s State Research Forensic Centre in the Kyiv area, claiming one life so far, but there are fears the casualty figures could mount.
Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko confirmed that the victims are employees from the forensics centre but that the fire has now been contained.
Saturday marks a major holiday in the Orthodox calendar, The Feast of the Transfiguration, which Klymenko said meant ‘people were leaving the church with baskets of blessed apples’ when the attack happened.
The strikes came in the wake of a string of overnight attacks across several Ukrainian oblasts that injured around 25 others, according to reports from local officials.
People in Chernihiv have been told to ‘stay in shelters’ after the city came under attack from what the city’s governor said was a ballistic missile.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is in Sweden for talks, shared a video of the destruction in the northern city.
The footage shows large chunks of debris strewn across the streets in broad daylight.
The President wrote: ‘This is what a neighbourhood with a terrorist state is, this is what we unite the whole world against.
‘An ordinary Saturday, which Russia turned into a day of pain and loss. Let’s do even more to consolidate the world against Russian terror. Let’s give even more to our state to protect life. Russia must lose this war for life to win.’
Russian forces marched through Chernihiv when they invaded Ukraine at the end of February last year, from several directions, including from Belarus. They were then pushed back by Ukrainian forces.
But since Moscow’s forces were repelled from the area, northern Ukraine has been largely spared by the fierce fighting that has raged in the east and south.
Overnight, Russia launched a series of drone attacks on the northern, central and western parts of Ukraine.
Zelensky’s forces claimed to have shot down 15 of the 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones that had been launched.
Serhiy Tyurin, the acting Governor of Khmelnytskyi Oblast, wrote on social media: ‘Tonight, during the air raid, Khmelnytskyi was again attacked by the enemy.’
He continued: ‘In several villages of the Khmelnytskyi district, 30 houses were damaged by the blast wave, and windows and doors were broken in 32 households. Two women were injured by shards of glass, and six more people went to the hospital in a state of shock.’
Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote that one person had been killed and at least 10 others have been wounded in the past 24 hours by Russian attacks.
Among the wounded is a child. The reports came after Russia claimed to have destroyed a Ukrainian-launched missile over Crimea in the early hours of Saturday.