Russian missiles blast homes across Ukraine killing 19 civilians

VLADIMIR Putin was branded “evil” yesterday as Russia launched a series of deadly aerial attacks on Ukraine, killing 19 innocent civilians as they slept, including a two-year-old girl.

Strategic bombers hit several residential targets overnight, as air strikes were launched on multiple cities across the country, including the capital Kyiv.

Olga Bilash, 31, and her daughter, two, were killed when their home was bombed in Dnipro.

A further 17 people died in the central city of Uman after missiles hit a residential block of flats, officials said. One of the dead was said to be a 10-year-old child.

Olga’s cousin Tetyana, 21, said: “I want all Russians to rot and die. I want for this country to never exist. My world is ruined and empty.”

Video footage posted on Telegram by Ukraine’s State Border Service showed the badly damaged apartment building in Uman after the strikes.

There were also explosions in the cities of Kremenchuk and Poltava.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 10 residential buildings damaged in Uman showed further international action was needed against Russia.

“Evil can be stopped by weapons and sanctions. Global sanctions must be enhanced,” he tweeted.

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Taburets, head of the Cherkasy administration covering Uman, said most of those killed perished when a missile hit a high-rise residential building.

One distraught woman with blood on her hands and face was shown on Ukrainian TV, along with the wreckage of her flat in Uman. She told how her children had narrowly escaped death.

“A missile hit our flats,” she said. “We are all covered in blood. All windows were shattered. Children were sleeping here.”

“They are all alive. We are all covered in blood. I got so scared.”

The Russian missile attacks on Kyiv were said to be the first in 51 days. There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties in the capital.

Officials claimed 21 out of 23 missiles heading for Kyiv and two attack drones had been shot down by Ukraine’s air defence system.

The strikes came just a day after the Kremlin welcomed “anything that could bring an end to the conflict”.

This was in reference to a lengthy call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Zelensky this week.

Ukrainian forces are believed to be preparing for a huge military counteroffensive with new equipment, including tanks, supplied by Western allies.

Russia has struggled to make headway in its long winter offensive, including an ongoing 10-month battle for control of the strategically important city of Bakhmut which has cost thousands of lives.

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