An airstrike in Dnipro in central Ukraine injured 20 people on Saturday evening, including three children who were seriously hurt, the Ukrainian authorities announced.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the Russians of “attacking the town” in the centre of the country.
Russian air strikes over Ukraine have intensified in recent weeks, as have incursions in the opposite direction.
For months, Kiev has claimed to be preparing for a major offensive against Moscow’s occupying forces, with the aim of recapturing territory lost since the Russian invasion of February 2022.
Saturday’s strike hit two buildings in a residential district of Dnipro, the president said.
“The Russians attacked the city,” Mr. Zelenskyy posted on Facebook on Saturday. “They struck between two two-story residential buildings. Unfortunately, there are people under the rubble.”
A video posted by Mr. Zelenskyy shows rescue workers searching the destroyed building, to the sound of industrial drills.
“Five children were injured by the enemy in the community of Pidhorodnenska,” said Serhiy Lysak, governor of the Dnipro region. “Doctors consider the condition of three boys to be serious. They are in the operating room.”
“The total number of injured has risen to 20. Among them, 17 are hospitalised,” he added, pointing out that rescue workers are still searching for victims under the rubble.
Bomb shelters locked or out of order
The attack on Dnipro came shortly after officials in the capital Kyiv announced that inspectors had found nearly a quarter of the country’s bomb shelters either locked or unusable. The announcement came days after a woman in Kyiv allegedly died waiting outside a shuttered shelter during a Russian missile barrage.
The Ukrainian interior ministry said through its press service Saturday that of the “over 4,800” shelters it had inspected, 252 were locked and a further 893 “unfit for use.”
That same day, the Kyiv regional prosecutor’s office reported that four people were detained in a criminal probe into the 33-year-old’s death on Thursday outside the locked shelter. The prosecutor’s office said that one person, a security guard who had failed to unlock the doors, remained under arrest, while three others, including a local official, had been put under house arrest.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the suspects face up to eight years in prison for official negligence that led to a person’s death.
Also on Saturday, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that city authorities have received “more than a thousand” complaints regarding locked, dilapidated or insufficient air-raid shelters within a day of launching an online feedback service.
Civilians killed by Russian shelling
Elsewhere, Ukrainian regional officials reported Saturday morning that Russian shelling had killed at least four civilians across the country in the previous 24 hours. A 67-year-old man died in the early hours of Saturday as Russian forces shelled the northeastern Kharkiv region, local Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram. According to Syniehubov, two other civilians were killed on Friday and overnight, while six more, including a three-year-old boy, suffered wounds.
In the frontline Kherson region in the south, two boys aged 10 and 13 were hospitalised with “serious” injuries after an explosive device detonated Saturday in a village playground, regional Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin reported. Prokudin also said that five others, including two children, were wounded by Russian shelling over the previous day.
In the Sumy province further west, a Russian mortar shell killed an 85-year-old man as he sat by the orchard outside his house, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office reported Saturday.
Praise for heroes
President Zelenskyy used a Saturday evening address to the nation carried on Twitter to praise many of the heroes defending the country and urging its citizens to show their support and admiration for its armed forces. He singled out the actions of a number of people for special mention of all ranks from junior soldiers to higher ranking officers.
On the other side of the border, Ukrainian shellfire killed two people on Saturday in Belgorod, Russia, according to the local governor. Border villages in this region have been hit by unprecedented artillery fire in recent days, and the latest deaths bring the overall death toll to seven this week.
It was not immediately possible to verify the above claims by regional authorities in Ukraine and Russia.