Mykolaiv picks up pieces after Russian missile strike
(Update 1: Adds details, edits throughout, changes headline, lede)
Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Mar 31 (EFE).-The Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv was on Thursday picking up the pieces after a Russian missile strike on its Regional State Administration building and as rescuers continue to scour the rubble.
On Thursday morning the State Emergency Service (SES) raised the death toll of Tuesday’s attack to 16.
“As of 07:00 on March 31, 16 people died (rescuers unblocked 15 bodies from under the rubble, 1 person died in intensive care). Currently, there are 47 rescuers and 9 pieces of equipment working,” the SES said on Facebook.
The strike also caused injuries to some 40 people, according to the head of the Mykolaiv Regional Council, Hanna Zamaziyeva.
The streets of Mykolaiv were on Thursday almost empty and few citizens have decided to stay in the face of more attacks.
Oxana, 32, has remained alone in the city to collaborate with the Red Cross. Her whole family has left.
She knew some of the people who died in the administration building as she brought them tea and coffee every day, she tells Efe, adding that overnight they just “disappeared.”
Oxana says while the war is scary, in principle they are not afraid and try to help people in any way they can.
She hasn’t considered leaving, saying she believes in Ukraine and in its victory.
Mykolaiv is located between the Black Sea cities of Odesa and Kherson, which is occupied by Russian forces in their advance from Donbas westwards through southern Ukraine.
Although it has been bombed several times since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, Mykolaiv has resisted the Russian push, thereby preventing Moscow’s forces from crossing the Dnieper River, next to which the city stands.
The mouth of this river, which runs through Ukraine from north to south, passing through Kyiv and dividing the country in two, is in turn about 130 kilometers from the strategic port city of Odesa, a city of 1 million people.
Refugees from the area continue to arrive in Odesa, which considers Mykolaiv as its stronghold, and in its cemeteries some of those killed in the fighting are being buried. EFE