A two-year-old girl was found dead under the rubble of a house near the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday night as recriminations continued about the availability of air raid shelters in the capital.
Serhiy Lysak, the governor of the Dnipro region, said another 22 people were injured, including five children, in an attack that destroyed or damaged several buildings.
“Overnight, the body of a girl who had just turned two was pulled from under the rubble of a house,” said the governor. The girl was called Lisa and was with her mother when the missile struck in the yard of the house, he said.
Three boys aged 15, 11 and six were in intensive care after the missile strike, suffering from concussions and multiple fractures. All three had to be operated on to help their recovery, the governor said.
A total of 485 children are known to have died across Ukraine and a further 1,005 have been injured since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, according to figures compiled by the country’s office of the prosecutor general.
“Many of them could have become famous scholars, artists, sports champions, contributing to Ukraine’s history,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted on Sunday, but instead “they fell victim to the enemy’s missiles and hate”.
The president’s tweet was accompanied by a video detailing several child fatalities and injuries. The youngest-known victim, Serhii, was two days old when he died after Russia shelled a maternity ward in Vilniansk, in the Zaporizhzhia region, in November last year.
Ukraine had been intending to mark the impact of the war on children on Sunday, making the timing of the latest fatality particularly poignant. The president’s wife, Olena Zelenska, unveiled a memorial to dead youngsters in Kharkiv. “We remember them and will never forget,” she added.
Mr Lysak released pictures of shattered buildings on his Telegram feed. He said a missile struck between two two-storey residential buildings in the town of Pidhorodne, on the outskirts of Dnipro city.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia fired six Kh-101 or Kh-555 cruise missiles overnight and launched a further five Iranian-designed Shahed drones. Four of the missiles and three of the drones were destroyed, it said.
Kyiv’s civil military administration said air defences destroyed all the missiles and drones that were aimed at the city “at distant approaches”, meaning that for the second night in a row the city was not bombed.
The capital has been the target of near-nightly bombing raids for more than a month as the Kremlin appears focused on trying to knock out or exhaust the city’s Patriot air defence systems before a widely anticipated Ukrainian counterattack.
Three people were killed, including a nine-year-old girl, early on Thursday morning, on the country’s International Children’s Day, when debris from an intercepted Iskander missile landed in a crowd of people trying to reach a bomb shelter that had not been opened.
The episode has led to recriminations between Ukraine’s president and Kyiv city hall, where the former championship boxer Vitali Klitschko is mayor, which continued on Sunday after an inspection ordered by Mr Zelenskiy.
The minister tasked with the inspection complained that more than half of the bomb shelters visited were shut or unfit for use when inspected on Saturday, while Mr Klitschko acknowledged there was “a lot to work on”.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, said on Sunday that 597 community bomb shelters out of 1,078 inspected were unusable, a fact that he said he “greeted with disbelief”.
Russian bombing had rarely touched Kyiv’s residential areas before early May, but since then air raids have taken place on a near-nightly basis. Although the vast majority of drones and missiles are intercepted, falling wreckage has proved lethal, renewing focus on the need for functioning bomb shelters.
Meanwhile, two people were killed and two injured by Ukrainian artillery fire on Russia’s Belgorod region on Saturday, said the governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov. He wrote on Telegram: “Since this morning, settlements in the Shebekino urban district have been under fire from the Ukrainian armed forces.” Ukraine has denied attacking Belgorod, saying Russian rebels are responsible.