CHERNIHIV: A Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s northern city of Chernihiv left at least seven people dead and more than 100 others wounded on Saturday, authorities said, after Kyiv claimed it had shot down more than a dozen Russian drones in an overnight attack.

The strike came hours after President Vladimir Putin held talks with top Russian generals in a rare trip to operational hub Rostov-on-Don and as his Ukrainian nemesis, Volodymyr Zelensky, visited Sweden for talks with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Chernihiv, some 150km north of Kyiv towards Belarus, had been largely spared from major attacks since the first months of Russia’s invasion as fierce fighting rages in the east and south.

UN official slams ‘heinous’ strike

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, in an online statement condemned the missile attack as “heinous”, calling for Moscow to end strikes on “populated areas”.

Chernihiv’s acting mayor, Oleksandr Lomako, on Telegram termed it a ‘terrorist attack’, confirming seven deaths among a total of 117 casualties.

Zelensky claimed the attack hit ‘the centre of the city’ in a square that houses a ‘polytechnic university, a theatre’. “An ordinary Saturday, which Russia turned into a day of pain and loss,” he remarked after his arrival in Sweden.

Hours earlier, the Kremlin said Putin had travelled to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Moscow’s hub for its operations in Ukraine, to meet top generals in a rare trip close to combat zones.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2023

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