Russian missile attack kills over a dozen people in Chernihiv, Ukraine

Russian missile attack kills over a dozen people in Chernihiv, Ukraine
Russia is intensifying its barrage and striking towns across Ukraine. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews April 17, 2024

At least 14 people were killed and over 60 others injured, including two children, as Russian forces launched a devastating missile attack on the city of Chernihiv on the morning of April 17, according to reports from the Prosecutor General's Office.

Video shared on social media shows pedestrians in the town scrambling as a missile comes down destroying a house further down the street.

Explosions rattled Chernihiv, situated in northern Ukraine, at approximately 9 a.m. local time, with devastating consequences. Among the victims was a 25-year-old female police lieutenant who tragically lost her life while at home on sick leave, succumbing to fatal injuries from shrapnel, as confirmed by Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.

Ukraine’s skies are open after the US ran out of money for Ukraine in January and the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) is virtually out of air defence ammunition. Russia launched a renewed barrage of missiles in January to try and deplete stocks and intensified the barrage in March as the tactics began to pay off. Now with the stocks near zero, Russia has begun to strike against the civilian population in urban areas to further run down morale as the drone war intensifies.

The assault, which struck near the city's downtown area, involved three Russian missiles, leaving widespread destruction in its wake. Civilian and social infrastructure facilities bore the brunt of the attack, with an eight-story building reduced to rubble and several high-rise structures, a hospital, a higher education institution, and numerous vehicles sustaining damage, according to local authorities.

Chernihiv Oblast Governor Viacheslav Chaus and acting city mayor Oleksandr Lomako provided grim updates on the extent of the damage, highlighting the catastrophic impact on residential and public spaces.

As rescue efforts continue, the death toll may rise further, with at least three individuals currently considered missing, noted Klymenko.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned the attack, lamenting the loss of innocent lives and reiterating Ukraine's urgent need for enhanced air defence capabilities to counter Russian aggression. On April 16, Zelenskiy had told PBS Newshour in an interview that Russia was currently out-shelling Ukraine at a ratio of 10 to 1 and had 30 times more aircraft.

Meanwhile, EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrel urged international action to support Ukraine in its defence against Russian attacks, warning of the dire consequences of failing to stem the onslaught. "Before we talk about rebuilding Ukraine, we must avoid destroying it. It would be cheaper to buy Patriot systems than to rebuild the power plant targeted by the Russians," Borrel told Le Monde.

In response to the escalating crisis, President Zelenskiy signed a long-debated controversial mobilisation bill. Additionally, Ukraine's Chief Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets revealed that almost 37,000 individuals are considered missing due to the ongoing war.