The audacity of wickedness – 17 killed in ‘evil’ raid on crowded market

Ukraine fighting ‘World War One again’ says John Bolton

At least 17 people were killed and 34 injured yesterday when Russia launched a devastating missile raid on a crowded market in eastern Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky branded the lunchtime attack on Kostyantynivka “the audacity of wickedness” and warned that the death toll could rise.

Harrowing footage showed desperate civilians fleeing an explosion that sent flames into the air over a street lined with shops and parked cars.

The bloodshed comes just months after Putin’s forces killed six people in the same city by bombarding flats and a nursery.

President Zelensky said of the attack 400 miles from the capital: “A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong. Many wounded. Unfortunately, the number of casualties and the injured may rise.”

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He continued: “When someone in the world still attempts to deal with anything Russian, it means turning a blind eye to this reality. The audacity of evil. The brazenness of wickedness. Utter inhumanity.” His wife Olena Zelenska called it a “horrific cruelty” and extended her “deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims”.

The President posted images showing the explosion and scenes of firefighters using hosepipes to tackle flames and smoke in the aftermath. Other shots showed emergency crews carrying body bags and sifting through rubble in the search for survivors.

The horror unfolded as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to announce a fresh aid package for Ukraine during an unannounced trip to Kyiv. He met Mr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal having earmarked up to £80million for the struggle with Moscow.

Mr Blinken said: “We want to make sure Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in the counteroffensive but for the long term.”

The UN Human Rights Office says more than 9,500 civilians have been killed and 17,200 injured since Russia invaded its neighbour 18 months ago.

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