A videograb shows rescuers work at site of the regional administration building after it was hit by a Russian missile. Reuters
Several days of calm in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv came to an abrupt end around breakfast-time Tuesday, when a Russian missile tore through a government building, killing seven people.Witnesses saw dust-covered rescue workers pull two bodies from the debris: one of a man in uniform and the other of an elderly woman, which they covered in a green sheet.
But military spokesman Dmitriy Pletenchuk said later Tuesday that all those killed had been civilians.
Governor Vitaly Kim confirmed that the regional government office had been targeted.
"Most people escaped miraculously," he wrote on Facebook.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Danish lawmakers in a video address: "As far as we know now, seven people were killed, 22 were wounded, and people are still going through the rubble."
Donald, a retired Canadian postal worker with Ukrainian residency, told AFP he was having breakfast in his flat when the strike hit.
"I heard a whoosh, then a boom and my windows rattled," the 69-year-old said.
"It's scary. We have been lucky here in Mykolaiv. We haven't had that many explosions in the centre of the city," he added.
The tall administrative building was left with a large section torn away, rows of windows blown out and its base surrounded by large chunks of concrete.
On the eighth floor, a desk and shelves appeared intact on a strip of flooring still attached to what remained of the building, while the rest of the office had collapsed.
By the afternoon, most of the rescue teams had quit the site and mechanical diggers were moving in to clear the rubble.
The media reported that at least eight people, including a child, were injured the powerful Russian missile strike.
The plane was shot down early on Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad. No one was wounded in the attack on the bases.
Move comes after a traumatic month in which the country had appeared on the brink of war with the United States and accidentally downed a Ukrainian passenger jet.
Four explosions were heard at around 6:30am (0330 GMT), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.
Official sources said the island's remaining fuel supply was sufficient for about two days, but that authorities were saving it for essential services.
The deeply polarised country grappled with a new level of division: between states that will now or soon deny the right to abortion, enshrined since 1973, and those that still allow it.