A devastating Russian missile strike on Wednesday has left an outdoor market in eastern Ukraine in ruins. Transforming it into a harrowing scene of flames and despair as grieving civilians searched for their loved ones among the charred and mangled bodies scattered across the ground.
The town of Kostiantynivka witnessed the horrifying aftermath of the explosion, which claimed the lives of 17 people and inflicted injuries on at least 32 others. Ukrainian officials have described this incident as the deadliest Russian missile strike on civilians in recent months.
Stefan Slovak, a resident of Kostiantynivka, emphasized the absence of any military target in the vicinity. “There was no military target here. This is a peaceful neighbourhood in the city centre,” he stated with a trembling voice.
The remnants of the market, depicted in the aftermath, revealed charred bodies strewn across the streets, some still engulfed in flames, alongside cars consumed by the inferno. Amid the chaos, rescuers discovered a woman in civilian clothing with a head covered in blood behind a market stall stocked with fresh parsley.
Deliberate Strike on a Civilian Area
Video footage captured by The Associated Press portrayed a scene of utter chaos, with charred bodies lying on the ground, some still ablaze. Firefighters battled the flames while first responders swiftly applied tourniquets and evacuated the wounded using stretchers and blankets. Posters and tarps were utilized to shield the deceased, while onlookers consoled one another.
Nadezhda Negoda, another resident, expressed her outrage at the indiscriminate violence. “They are shooting at peaceful civilians. Are we soldiers here? Are we shooting at them? No! So why? They are just trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation,” she protested.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack, asserting that it was a deliberate strike on a civilian area. Zelenskyy, who has made numerous visits to the town, emphasized that there were no military units nearby. During a news conference in Kyiv alongside visiting Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. He noted that such attacks on civilians reflect the situation on the battlefield.
“Whenever there are any positive advances by Ukrainian defence forces in that direction”. Russians always target civilian people and civilian objects,” Zelenskyy stated.
Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ihor Klymenko, reported that emergency workers successfully extinguished the flames. That has ravaged an area covering 300 square meters (3,200 square feet). The destruction included eight market installations, several cars, around 30 pavilions, 20 shops. Including an administrative building, an apartment building, and power lines, according to Ukraine’s General Prosecutor’s Office.
The missile strike occurred as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv. He was expected to announce over $1 billion in new American funding for Ukraine in its 18-month-long conflict.