A barrage of missiles struck the recently liberated city of Kherson for the second day Friday in a marked escalation of attacks since Russia withdrew from the city two weeks ago.
The city was shelled 17 times before midday Thursday, and strikes continued into the evening, killing at least four people and injuring 10, according to Kherson’s military administration. Soldiers in the region had warned that Kherson would face intensified strikes as Russian troops dig in across the Dnieper River.
Scores of people were injured in the strikes that hit residential and commercial buildings, lighting some on fire, blowing ash into the air and littering the streets with shattered glass. The attacks wrought destruction on some residential neighborhoods not previously hit in the war that has just entered its tenth month.
On Friday morning people sifted through what little remained of their destroyed houses and shops. Containers of food lined the floor of a shattered meat store, while across the street customers lined up at a coffee shop where residents said four people died the night before.
“I don’t even know what to say, it was unexpected,” said Diana Samsonova, who works at the coffee shop, which remained open throughout Russia’s occupation and has no plans to close despite the attacks.
The violence is compounding what’s become a dire humanitarian crisis. As Russians retreated, they destroyed key infrastructure, leaving people with little water and electricity. People have become so desperate they’re finding some salvation amid the wreckage.
Outside an apartment building that was badly damaged, residents filled buckets with water that pooled on the ground. Workers at the morgue used puddles to clean their bloody hands.
Valerii Parkhomenko had just parked his car and gone into a coffee shop when a rocket destroyed his vehicle.