Conflicts & War

Black Sunday in Sloviansk: civilians killed in sewage plant attack

By Luis Lidón

Sloviansk, Ukraine, Jul 4 (EFE).- Vlad never imagined that going to collect water from a wastewater treatment plant near his house in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk would put his life at risk.

The 58-year-old, who preferred not to be identified by his surname, is one of hundreds of residents who flock daily to supply point after the regular water infrastructure in Sloviansk, which is located in the Donetsk oblast of the Donbas, was damaged by Russia’s scorched earth tactics.

The old sewage treatment plant, with its tall brick tower and blue tanks, had not been attacked since the war started on February 24.

But that changed just after midday on Sunday when rockets fired by a multiple launch system started raining down.

Several explosions destroyed segments of the facilities and the blast wave shattered all the windows of a nearby office building.

The entire area was enveloped in a cloud of dust and at least three explosions triggered a shrapnel storm.

“I can’t believe they bombed the purification plant. What can we do to repair it? We can’t leave people without water,” Sergei, one of the plant’s municipal officials, said from the underground shelter as residents waited for the shelling to stop.

“This is the help that Russia sends us,” another resident who witnessed the attack added.

Vlad was also injured and had a head wound treated in a hospital.

Shortly after 1pm, Efe witnessed a wave of wounded residents rushing to the medical center with glass and shrapnel injuries after several attacks throughout Sloviansk.

An hour later, plumes of black smoke could be seen floating over the city which suffered the heaviest bombardment in weeks.

“There are 15 fires. Many dead and wounded,” Mayor Vadim Lyakh said in a video published on Facebook.

Regional authorities later said six people had been killed and 15 wounded.

Among those killed were a couple and their nine-year-old daughter who died in their apartment after it was hit by a rocket.

Inna and Ciril lived near the family and they suffered from minor injuries.

“This is the worst day since the start of the war,” Ciril told Efe.

Inna, who had a cut on her elbow added she had never considered leaving the city, but that the intensity of recent attacks had made her change her mind.

“We may have to look for some alternative,” she continued.

The day before, four civilians died during Russian attacks.

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