Macabre scenes in Zaporizhia after strikes hit homes

Macabre scenes in Zaporizhia after strikes hit homes


A well-groomed hand with bright red fingernails sticks out of the ruins of a five-story building on Zaporizhia’s main street.

On Thursday, seven Russian missiles hit the industrial city just 40 kilometers from the southern front’s artillery battles.

Three hit downtown just after 5:00 a.m. (0200 GMT).

AFP journalists at the scene saw helmeted rescue workers clearing piles of rubble with their hands and searching for people trapped under the rubble.

The female victim, who was carefully pulled from the rubble by rescuers, must have been lying in bed when the building was destroyed.

But with open eyes she no longer slept, nor did she live.

Another body was found an hour later after rescue workers cleared tons of debris as firefighters worked to put out a fire from a collapsed portion of a building with jagged pieces of metal protruding.

However, after hours in the fire, it was impossible to determine the identity or age of the body.

The body, which had four limbs ripped off, was quickly placed in a black body bag before being removed from the scene.

Officially, three people were killed and at least twelve injured in Zaporizhia on Thursday morning.

According to a rescuer, the death toll is expected to rise to “six to ten”.

A third body was found elsewhere, according to the same rescuer, who declined to give her name to AFP.

Zaporizhzhia Red Cross head Oksana Beketova told AFP about another body also found in a car wash and a woman killed in her home.

“We are constantly urging people to evacuate. (But) two bus stops from here, people are still walking in a park,” Beketova said, adding that she hopes “people will take their chance to save themselves.”

– ‘Pure Hate’ –

“Many people will flee to other cities, especially with children, elderly parents,” said Igor Osolodko, a 25-year-old musician who is one of dozens of volunteers helping to clear rubble brick by brick from another burned-out building.

“For the first time in my life I feel pure hatred,” said Osolodko.

“It’s absurd, it’s unreal. We have to rely on our army and deal with this terror until it’s all over, until we win,” he said.

The night’s attacks followed a ferocious shelling last week in which Ukrainian officials said 31 people were killed following a convoy of civilian cars in the Zaporizhia region.

Apart from one police officer who was killed, the other 30 victims tried to return to the part of Ukraine under Russian control.

Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of the strike.

The Zaporizhia region is one of four territories in Ukraine, along with Lugansk, Donetsk and Kherson, that Russia says it has annexed, with President Vladimir Putin formally signing the law into law on Wednesday.

While the Ukrainian army on Thursday claimed to have retaken 400 square kilometers from Russia in the Kherson region, it remains unclear whether the city of Zaporizhia is among the areas Moscow considers its own.

“I could have explained it logically if they hit military bases or infrastructure,” said Dimitri Sirchenko, who also came to clear debris.

“But they hit a city center where there are only civilian buildings,” he said.

For Sirchenko, fleeing the city is out of the question.

“Where to? There is no safe place” in Ukraine, he told the AFP news agency.

More to explorer