Russian strike on Ukraine school kills four as Moscow hit by more drones
August 23, 2023 08:33 PM
A Russian strike on a school in north-east Ukraine killed four people Wednesday, razing the building to the ground in the Sumy region that borders Russia in an attack that came as the war in Ukraine enters its 19th month.
Three civilians were also killed in Russia's Belgorod region while the capital Moscow was targeted by a drone attack for the sixth night in a row, with the war now hitting Russian territory daily.
In Ukraine's Romny village, 230 kilometres (140 miles) east of Kyiv, where the school attack hit, rescuers found the bodies of the school director, deputy director, secretary and librarian under the rubble.
"The number of victims of the Russian attack on the school in Romny has increased to four people," Ukraine's Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said on Telegram.
Four local residents passing by the school were wounded, Klymenko added.
The minister posted a photograph of a rubble-covered building, with a dozen rescuers clearing the site, with only one door left intact.
"In the photo, among the ruins of the school, there is a surviving entrance to the shelter. Unfortunately, people did not go down during the alarm to a safe place," Klymenko said.
He added that the "rubble removal operation has been completed."
The building was covered in bricks. Another photograph showed rescuers carrying a body bag.
Russian forces entered the Sumy region at the start of their invasion last year but were pushed back by Ukrainian forces.
It has since been spared from the fighting seen in other eastern regions but recently has increasingly seen deadly attacks.
- Three killed in Belgorod -
Moscow and other Russian regions were hit by more Ukrainian drone attacks Wednesday, as Kyiv vowed earlier this summer to "return" the war to Russia.
In the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine, authorities said three civilians were killed by Kyiv's forces Wednesday.
"The Ukrainian forces launched an explosive device through a drone when people were on the street," Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.
The region has been targeted by shelling, drone attacks and occasional cross-border incursions for months.
In Moscow's central business district -- Moscow City -- a drone attack crashed into a skyscraper and smashed a window, without causing any casualties.
Emergency services vehicles lined up along a street below a cluster of brightly lit skyscrapers.
Air traffic at Moscow's Vnukovo, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports was briefly halted, the TASS state news agency reported, citing the aviation services.
Drones were also downed outside Moscow -- in the Mozhaisky and Khimki districts -- Russia's defence ministry said.
In Khimki, Russian state media reported that the wreckage of a downed drone had partially collapsed the roof of a private house and damaged a non-residential building.
Later, Vladislav Shapsha, the head of the Kaluga region south of Moscow, said air defence systems in his region had fended off two drones.
- Black Sea attacks -
Both Russia and Ukraine have also ramped up attacks in the Black Sea since the July collapse of a UN-brokered deal aimed at ensuring safe navigation for civilian grain shipments from Ukraine ports.
Russia has consistently hit Ukraine's grain infrastructure, while Kyiv has targeted Crimea and Moscow's Black Sea Fleet.
Ukraine claimed it destroyed a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system in Crimea, annexed by Russia since 2014.
Its defence ministry posted a video of a massive explosion with a huge column of smoke billowing in the sky, saying it took place near the village of Olenivka on the Tarkhankut Peninsula and destroyed "the system, its missiles and personnel."
There were no immediate comments from Moscow, but Russian military bloggers said the attack highlighted flaws in Russia's defence capacities.
Kyiv said Wednesday that Russian strikes on its sea and river ports had destroyed 270,000 tonnes of grain in the space of a month and that a Russian drone hit and damaged grain infrastructure in the southern Odesa region.
Kyiv also denied Moscow's claim on Tuesday that it had destroyed two Ukrainian military boats, including one carrying troops.