CHERNIHIV - At least seven people died including a six-year-old girl and nearly 130 others injured after a Russian missile strike hit a central square in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, Ukrainian officials said.
Saturday’s strike in a city close to the Russian border and far from the frontlines hit a university and a theater, where an event involving drone manufacturers was taking place. The girl killed died from her injuries in hospital, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said. “Her mother is in grave condition. The police officers provided first aid to the girl. Unfortunately, doctors were unable to save her upon arrival at the hospital due to a heavy blood loss,” he added. Klymenko said the strike happened while people were leaving church with “baskets of blessed apples.” Saturday is a major holiday in the Orthodox calendar: for The Feast of the Transfiguration, apples and honey are consecrated in churches. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack turned “an ordinary Saturday… into a day of pain and loss.” “A Russian missile hit right in the center of the city, in our Chernihiv. A square, the polytechnic university, a theater.”
Oleksandr Lomako, acting mayor of Chernihiv city, told national TV: “There is a park right behind the drama theater, many children and their parents usually spend time there. There are numerous restaurants with outdoor terraces located nearby as well. It all happened in the middle of the day when obviously there are many people in the city center.
“This crime cannot be interpreted except as a war crime against civilians.” Klymenko is calling for an investigation into a drone event that was underway in the theater during the attack. Drones have been used by both sides throughout the conflict. A co-organizer of the event, Maria Berlinska, said it was officially approved by the local military-civilian administration and that the location was provided by authorities. The venue was only disclosed hours before the event for security reasons.
Berlinska described it as “a closed meeting of engineers, military and volunteers on military tech for the frontline.” Prior to the outbreak of war, Chernihiv was a vibrant city of 300,000 people.