At least 25 people are reported to have died, and dozens more wounded after what Ukrainian officials said was a missile strike on a humanitarian convoy in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Anti-aircraft missiles that Moscow has repurposed as ground-attack weapons rained down on an assembly point where cars were waiting to set off into Russian-occupied territory, in efforts aimed at bringing family members back across the front lines, said the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
The strike left deep craters and sent shrapnel tearing through the humanitarian convoy’s lined-up vehicles, killing their passengers. Nearby buildings were also demolished in the attack.
“Rescuers were working on site, 10 automobiles and 50 staff employees, they helped to evacuate the injured, and carried out bodies”, said Yulia Barysheva, spokesperson for the Emergency Service of Ukraine in Zaporizhzhia. “240 cars were planned in this convoy, and were to leave the city at the very moment the air strike happened”.
The Kremlin did not immediately comment on the incident, but Moscow-installed officials in Zaporizhzhia blamed Ukrainian forces for the strike.
The attacks came as Moscow formally announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, after so-called ‘sham referendums’ were held in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.