At least eight people, including a child, were wounded when a powerful Russian missile strike gutted a newly repaired cultural centre in eastern Ukraine, the authorities said on Friday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on social media that Russia had targeted “the newly renovated House of Culture”, in the town of Lozova, in the eastern region of Kharkiv. He described the attack as “absolute evil” and “absolute stupidity”.
Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said eight people had been wounded, including an 11-year-old girl. All had been hit by shrapnel. A local health official had earlier put the number of wounded at seven.
Fire broke out in the cultural centre after the missile strike which also damaged nearby buildings, Sinegubov said, adding that Russian forces had fired three missiles towards the 1,000-capacity building, the largest cultural centre in the region.
“There is no doubt the occupiers directly targeted (it),” he said on Telegram.
Two of the missiles had been intercepted and the blaze had been extinguished, he added.
“The occupiers have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies. And they do not spare missiles or bombs,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram.
He added a video to his message showing a large explosion at the building, sending debris flying in all directions, followed by clouds of thick black smoke. Residential complexes could be seen nearby and two passing cars, one of which sped up to escape the area.
Defence Minister Oleg Motuzianyk said the situation on the eastern front was tense on Friday and appeared to be worsening.
He told a press conference that Russian forces were firing all along the line of contact and trying to shell deep into Ukrainian defensive lines.
Russia has routinely been accused of targeting civilian infrastructure since it launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has devastated several towns and cities.
Mariupol in the south has suffered near total destruction. Moscow’s forces were accused of striking a theatre in the southern port city in March, killing hundreds of civilians sheltering there.
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