Ukraine says Russian missiles hit apartment, kill eight, survivors describe fiery blasts

By Vladyslav Smilianets

POKROVSK, Ukraine (Reuters) -Russian missiles struck the centre of Ukraine’s Pokrovsk twice on Monday night killing eight people, including five civilians, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a statement.

The second missile hit the Ukraine-controlled town near the frontline 40 minutes after the first, the governor said. It killed and injured first responders, witnesses of the strikes told a Reuters cameraman at the scene.

Two rescuers and one military person were among the dead. Nine policemen and one military person were wounded, but most of the 31 injured were civilians, including a member of the local city council, Ukrainian officials said.

Kateryna, a 58-year-old resident of Pokrovsk, was at home when she heard the first blast and thought that the attack spared her. She even told someone who called to check on her that she was alright but at this moment the place was hit for the second time.

“That’s it, bang – and that’s all. A flame filled up my eyes. I fell down on the floor, on the ground. My eyes (hurt) a lot…,” Kateryna told Reuters in an interview pointing at multiple scratches around her eyes. She had bandages on her forehead.

The footage from the town showed rescuers going through the rubble, a wreckage of a car and an apartment building with torn down balconies.

Another resident, 75-year-old Lidia, said she was also on the phone at the moment of the second blast. She had picked up from the floor a torn white curtain covered with broken glass.

“Suddenly this flew out and wrapped me up. Then the window fell on me,” she said sitting on her sofa.

“My back has cuts. I just got back from the hospital… My knee and my thigh have cuts. I had glass here,” she said pointing at her head.

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, reported two more civilian victims of Russian strikes in Kruhliakivka village in the Kharkiv region.

Killed were a 45-year-old woman and a man around 60 and five people were injured, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov said.

(Reporting by Vladyslav Smilianets in Pokrovsk, writing by Maria Tsvetkova in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Michael Perry)