Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting rescue workers amid missile attacks

August 8, 2023

Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of targeting rescue workers amid a rising casualty toll after missile strikes hit an apartment complex and other buildings.

As of Tuesday morning Eastern Time, seven people had been killed and another 81 injured. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted video of the aftermath on social media, stating there were two missile strikes on the city of Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, where he said Russia was “trying to leave only broken and scorched stones.”

“An ordinary residential building was hit,” wrote Zelensky Tuesday afternoon local time. “Unfortunately, there are victims. Rescuers and all necessary services are on the scene. The rescue of people continues.”

Among those killed were at least five civilians, one rescuer and one soldier, according to Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko. The wounded included 39 civilians including two children, 31 police officers, seven emergency workers and four soldiers.

Kyrylenko added that two Russian Iskander missiles struck within 40 minutes of each other, which have an advanced guidance system that increases their accuracy. 

The so-called “double tap” has been a pattern for Russia, which has routinely since the start of the war struck the same, often civilian, area roughly a half-hour after its initial missile attack, often hitting emergency workers who’d descended on the scene. Russia was also known to use the double tap in Syria’s civil war. The practice has been outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

Ivan Vyhivskyi, Ukraine’s National Police Chief, said that “all” of the local police were on the scene to aid in rescue efforts following the first strike. “They knew that under the rubble were the injured—they needed to react, to dig, to retrieve, to save. And the enemy deliberately struck the second time.”

According to Kyrylenko, 12 multi-story buildings were damaged as well as a hotel, a pharmacy, two stores and two cafes.

Zelensky’s office also noted that Russia had dropped four guided bombs on a village near Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv region, killing two civilians. When rescuers arrived on that scene, two were injured when they too came under fire.

“Russia will be held accountable for everything it has done in this terrible war,” vowed Zelensky in his social media post.

PHOTO: Aftermath of strike on Pokrovsk in Donetsk region

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