Russian rockets hit an office building in central Ukraine on Thursday morning, killing at least 12 people, officials said, in the latest strike on a civilian target in Ukraine that did not appear to have a direct military objective.
Another 90 people were wounded, half of them seriously, after three rockets hit the center of Vinnytsia, a provincial capital, according to Ukraine’s National Police. The State Emergency Service said a young child was among those killed in the attack, which occurred at around 10:30 a.m.
Videos released by the agency showed smoke pouring out of multistory building and fire crews dousing water on the smoldering husks of upturned vehicles.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine condemned the attack. “Every day, Russia destroys the civilian population, kills Ukrainian children, directs rockets at civilian objects,” he said. “What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?”
After the explosions, frightened residents stood on the sidewalks, watching a coiling plume of black smoke rise from the city center. People were scared, although the strikes “are familiar to us” now, Iryna Mykhailova, a nanny living in Vinnytsia, said by telephone.
Another witness, Raisa Ludanova, said, “I had no time to get scared because it was a sudden loud noise and a window in my room was blown off. ”
Vinnytsia, which had a prewar population of more than 370,000, lies west of the Dnipro River, hundreds of miles from the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the focus of Moscow’s military campaign in recent weeks. The area has not seen significant attacks since early March, days after Russia’s invasion, when Russian cruise missiles struck an airport in the city.
But the strike on Thursday fit a pattern of deadly Russian strikes on civilian targets that seemed to have little military significance.
In the eastern village of Chasiv Yar, the State Emergency Service said that the death toll from a strike that hit an apartment complex over the weekend had risen to 48, making it one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since the war began.