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UPDATE: 7 dead, 144 injured in Russian missile attack on Chernihiv

by Alexander Query August 20, 2023 12:01 AM 2 min read
Two women hug as they start to clean up after a missile attack in the center of Chernihiv, Ukraine, that killed seven and injured 129 people on Aug. 19, 2023. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
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As of 11 p.m. local time, the number of wounded in the Russian missile attack on Chernihiv on Aug. 19 has risen to 144 people, including 15 children and 15 police officers, the National Police reported. The attack killed seven people.

The search and rescue operation is reportedly complete, according to authorities.

According to Chernihiv Oblast Governor Viacheslav Chaus, 41 people were hospitalized.

Russian forces targeted the city center of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine on the morning of Aug. 19, killing at least seven people, including a six-year-old child.

"A 12-year-old girl is urgently taken to Kyiv by ambulance. The child is in serious condition," Klymenko wrote on Telegram.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the missile strike impacted Chernihiv's central square, polytechnic institute, and theater.

"Here's what it means to be neighbors with a terrorist state, here's what we are uniting the entire world against," President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

"A regular Saturday turned into a day of pain and loss caused by Russia."

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brinks expressed solidarity with the victims, saying she was  "horrified by news of today’s daytime attack on the historic center of Chernihiv."

"Innocent men, women, and children enjoying a beautiful Saturday - a holiday in Ukraine - should never end up killed or wounded," Brinks wrote on Twitter.

"Russia’s missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s cities, ports, and people reflect the depths to which Russia has sunk and must stop."

France's Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack, calling it a "war crime" and "yet another illustration of Russia's cowardice and cynicism."

"France will continue to support Ukraine as much as necessary and will continue to support Ukrainian and international courts to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished," the ministry wrote.

According to Chernihiv Oblast Governor Viacheslav Chaus, Russian troops likely used a ballistic missile to attack the city.

Following the attack, there have been unconfirmed reports in Ukrainian media that the missile targeted the site where Ukrainian drone producers were holding an exhibition.

The Kyiv Independent confirmed that an exhibition of drone producers was planned for Aug. 19 in Chernihiv, but the location was kept secret. The registered visitors were going to receive the address hours before the event.

Russian government-controlled RIA Novosti news site reported, citing unnamed sources, that the attack on Chernihiv “hit the gathering place of Ukraine’s Armed Forces military specialists on combat drones, which was disguised as a drone festival.”

The media posted what it claims was an invitation to the event that asked visitors not to bring weapons and wear civilian clothes “to avoid identifying the event as being related to the military sphere.”

Klymenko earlier said most of the attack's victims were people in cars, those crossing the road nearby, and people returning from church service.

The attack occurred on one of the biggest Eastern Orthodox holidays – the Feast of Transfiguration, known in Ukraine as the Apple Feast of the Savior or Apple Spas.

One of the photos from the scene shows a body with a traditional church basket next to it.

Klymenko said that “everyone who was in the drama theater went down to the shelter in time,” as police officers “tried to take everyone to the shelter” after the air raid alert went off.

“There is also a large park behind the drama theater. Mothers were walking there with their children since morning,” he said.

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