Home USA News Russia rains missiles on a captured Ukrainian city

Russia rains missiles on a captured Ukrainian city

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KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — Natalya Kristenko’s dead body lay covered with a blanket in the doorway of her apartment building…

KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — Natalya Kristenko’s dead body lay covered in a blanket in the doorway of her apartment building overnight. City workers were initially too overwhelmed to pick her up as they responded to a deadly spate of attacks that rocked the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

A 62-year-old woman left her home with her husband on Thursday night after drinking tea when the building was hit. Kristenko was killed instantly from a head wound. Her husband died a few hours later in the hospital from internal bleeding.

“The Russians took my two dearest people from me,” said their hapless daughter Lilia Kristenko, 38, clutching the cat in her coat and watching in horror as rescuers finally arrived on Friday to take her mother to the morgue.

“They lived so well, they lived differently,” she told the Associated Press. “But they died on the same day.”

A barrage of rockets hit the newly liberated city of Kherson for a second day on Friday in a marked escalation of attacks since Russia withdrew from the city two weeks ago.

By noon on Thursday, the city had been shelled 17 times, and the strikes continued into the evening, killing at least four people and wounding 10, according to Kherson’s military administration. Soldiers in the region have warned that Kherson will face increased strikes as Russian troops dig in beyond the Dnieper River.

Scores of people were injured as residential and commercial buildings were hit, some of them set on fire, ash spewed into the air, and streets were littered with broken glass. The attacks have destroyed some residential areas previously untouched by the war, which has just entered its tenth month.

After the impact, Kristenko’s parents tried to call an ambulance, but there was no phone service, she said. Her 66-year-old father clutched the wound in his stomach and screamed, “I’m in so much pain I’m going to die,” she said. He was eventually taken by ambulance to the hospital, but died during surgery.

On Friday morning, people were sorting through what was left of destroyed houses and shops. Containers of food lined the floor of a destroyed butcher shop, while customers across the street queued at a cafe where residents said four people had died the night before.

“I don’t even know what to say, it was unexpected,” said Diana Samsonova, who works at the cafe, which has remained open throughout the Russian occupation and has no plans to close despite the attacks.

The violence is intensifying what has turned into a dire humanitarian crisis. As the Russians retreated, they destroyed key infrastructure, leaving people without water or electricity. People have become so desperate that they are looking for salvation among the wreckage.

Near the residential building, which was heavily damaged, residents filled buckets with water that flowed onto the ground. Morgue workers washed bloody hands with puddles.

Valery Parkhomenka had just parked and entered the cafe when a rocket destroyed his car.

“We were all squatting on the floor inside,” he said, showing the ashes in his hands. “I feel terrible, my car is broken, I need this car for work to feed my family,” he said.

Residents collected garbage near the shelled residential buildings and frantically searched for their relatives, while medical workers treated the wounded.

“I think it’s very bad and I think all countries should do something about it because it’s not normal,” said Ivan Mashkorinets, a man in his 20s who was at home with his mother when the house next door was struck.

“There is no army, no soldiers. People just live here, and they (still) shoot,” he said.

The government has said it will help people evacuate if they want to, but many say they have nowhere to go.

“There is no work (in other places), there is none here,” said Igor Novak, standing on the street and surveying the consequences of the shelling. “For now, the Ukrainian army is here, and we hope that it will be safer with it.”

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Associated Press writer Mstislav Charnov from Kherson made a report.

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