KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Russian missiles fell on Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, hitting the city, a major base of Ukrainian military operations, amid warnings from Kiev. Moscow launched a new offensive In the 11-month war.
Russian offensives are intensifying in Kramatorsk, a longtime command center for the Ukrainian military and a bastion for Ukraine’s defense of the city of Baghmut, which Russia is close to capturing after months of brutal fighting. Although at great cost in Russian and Ukrainian lives, the fall of Bakmut was Moscow’s first significant military victory since the summer.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced a large Russian troop buildup in occupied parts of eastern Ukraine, along with a sharp increase in artillery fire in the east. Marking the start of a new Russian offensive.
Reports of Russian artillery strikes in eastern Ukraine have risen from an average of 60 a day four weeks ago to more than 90 a day last week, with 111 Ukrainian locations targeted in one day alone, Konrad Musica, a military analyst at Rochon Consulting, which tracks Russian deployments, said this week.
On Wednesday night, at least three people were killed and a dozen injured when a rocket hit a four-story apartment complex in Kramatorsk.
As rescue workers dug frantically through the rubble Thursday to find entry into the basement where residents may have been hiding, a flash and two missiles struck nearby, sending firefighters in all directions.
One missile hit a yard, destroying several vehicles and a row of garages, while another stuck in the middle of the road. Residents ran to the basement as police warned that more missiles were coming.
Pavlo Kyrilenko, head of the regional military administration, said five people were injured in Thursday’s strikes, which hit a school, a hospital and a dozen buildings.
At a hospital near one of the blast sites, Anna Olenderenko, 51, said two of her friends, a married couple, were injured, the husband with a severe concussion and the wife with a broken arm.
“Horrible doesn’t even describe it,” he said. “Can’t wrap your head around it.”
Kramatorsk, the largest Ukrainian city, is near the epicenter of the struggle for the eastern region known as the Donbass. It is a hive of military activity, with the number of soldiers and armored personnel increasing in recent days. Pakmut is about 20 miles away, and the whole area is bombarded almost daily by Russian artillery.
It is unclear why the apartment building was targeted. At the blast site, mangled and charred remains of several vehicles appeared to belong to the military.
In April, a missile attack killed at least 50 people and injured many others Kramatorsk Railway Station. The attacks continued: A Russian missile landed outside a kindergarten in the city last week. gap groove. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office He said that he had opened it A war crimes investigation into the latest attack.
“This is not history repeating itself; This is the daily reality of our country,” Mr.
Carly Olson Contributed report from New York and Matthew Mpoke Bigg From London.