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Russian missile attack kills civilians in Zaporizhia | International

Hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin signs the annexation treaties for the occupied Ukrainian provinces of Zaporizhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian troops have struck again against civilian targets. At least 23 people have been killed and 28 others injured in a missile attack on a convoy of civilians in the Zaporizhia region of southern Ukraine, Oleksandr Staruj, the Ukrainian governor of the province of the same name, reported in a statement. Telegram message. The attack occurred at 7:15 a.m. local time (6:15 a.m. in mainland Spain), in an old vehicle sales market where dozens of civilian cars and vans were waiting to “leave the temporarily occupied territory, pick up their relatives and bring help”, as confirmed by the governor.

The anti-aircraft alarms had not stopped sounding throughout the night, while numerous explosions were heard. Local anti-aircraft defenses tried to repel the impact of Russian missiles for hours, until three of them reached the dozens of vehicles waiting for the right moment to resume their journey. “Russia is a terrorist state,” the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has claimed.

The attacked esplanade is a known area, where the main road from the south ends, which runs along the Dnieper River, through which the flow of Ukrainian refugees usually arrives. Nearby is the shopping center whose car park houses a reception center with NGOs, humanitarian aid and Ukrainian authorities.

In the middle of the morning, the corpses, covered with blankets and plastic, had not yet been removed from the esplanade, where the craters caused by Russian missiles can be seen. At least a dozen victims still lay on the ground – on the blanket that covers one of them the number “17” is written in black -, while other cuepors were still inside the vehicles.

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At least thirty cars were damaged in the blast, with windows shattered and doors ripped out. The criminalistic police and some soldiers have moved to the place to carry out the investigation.

Zaporizhia is one of four provinces – in addition to Lugansk, Donetsk and Kherson – that have held illegal referendums this week on its annexation to Russia. Many civilians have fled these regions so as not to remain on Russian territory when the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, signs the annexation treaties this Friday.

Russia denies the attack

The Russian administrator of the occupied region of Zaporizhia, Vladimir Rogov, has denied Russian authorship of the massacre and has blamed the attack on Ukrainian forces. “They have shot at a group of cars waiting to move to the liberated territory at the exit of Zaporizhia”, he has written in his account on Telegram.

“It is the classic Anglo-Saxon provocation against the disloyal civilian population”, added Rogov, who assures that the aggression “has been carried out according to the classic formula of ‘they have shot at themselves’, to accuse Russia afterwards. According to him, the attacked people “blocked the road two days ago asking to be allowed to go to liberated territories. [por Rusia]”.

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