Ukraine: Seven dead in strike in east, Kiev accuses Russia of using chemical weapons

In Ukraine, new strikes against civilians hit the town of Pokrovsk, a town close to the front line in the Donetsk region. Kiev's new toll is 7 dead and 67 wounded.

These strikes against civilians in a building in Pokrovsk left seven dead and sixty-seven wounded. AFP - ANATOLII STEPANOV

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Russian strikes hit downtown Pokrovsk on Monday (August 7th) twice. Rescue operations, interrupted overnight because of the risk of new shelling, resumed Tuesday at dawn, said Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klymenko.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had earlier said that Russia had struck "an ordinary residential building." "Two missiles hit. An ordinary residential building was hit," Volodymyr Zelensky said on X (formerly Twitter). He posted a video showing people pulling rubble from a five-story Soviet-era building that lost its top floor in the strike.

The city of Pokrovsk, Donetsk region. Donbas, from which Russia is trying to leave only broken and scorched stones. Two missile strikes. An ordinary residential building was hit. Unfortunately, there are victims. Rescuers and all necessary services are on the scene. The rescue of...

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) August 7, 2023

The place that appears to have been targeted is a residential complex with a very popular restaurant in the city where Ukrainian and foreign journalists, volunteers, families with children and soldiers on leave, sometimes with their relatives, visit.

The use of chemical weapons

Monday's strikes are particularly traumatic for the population because there were two according to a process that has already been used several times by the Russians, especially in Kherson, but also in their serial strikes, explains our correspondent in Kiev, Emmanuelle Chaze. There was a first strike on civilians, then a wait for help to arrive to launch a second strike, which causes the loss of a maximum of human lives and often many rescuers. Of the 67 people injured on Monday, there are 2 children, 27 police officers, 7 rescue workers. And among the 7 dead, we find the head delegate for relief of the Donetsk region, Colonel Andriy Omelchenko who was also on the spot.

Ukraine also claims that chemical weapons were used by Russian forces on Ukrainian soldiers. According to Kiev, Russian forces used chloropricin, a poisonous gas developed by Russia and used in trenches during World War I. "The enemy continues to use chemical munitions, in violation of all conventions," said General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of the Tavria Strategic Task Group.

According to him, the gas was launched during two firing barrages against Novovasylivka, a town in the Zaporizhzhia region. It is a weapon prohibited by international law and Russia is a signatory to the Convention against the Use of Chemical Weapons. And as such, it is not supposed to possess or produce and even less use such prohibited weapons.

The Ukrainian advance in Crimea

The firing comes after Ukrainian strikes on two key road bridges along Russian land lines of communication connecting Crimea and the Kherson region. The latter pushed Russian forces to redirect road traffic from short routes in the east to long routes in the west. This situation is likely to significantly disrupt logistics and lead to delays and congestion.

At the same time, the advance of the Ukrainians in their counter-offensive remains insignificant, according to Lukas Aubin, research director at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS).


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and with AFP)

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