Russian strike on residential building kills 15 in eastern Ukraine, officials say

The residential block in the town of Chasiv Yar was hit late on Saturday as Russia again intensified its assault on towns and villages in eastern Ukraine in a bid to seize control of the entire Donbass region.

The state emergency service said the bodies of 15 people have so far been recovered from the rubble and search and rescue work is continuing.

At 1 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), rescuers rescued five people and made contact with three others who were still buried under the rubble, the service said in a statement.

The emergency service added that 24 people, including a child, « could still be under the rubble ».

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, told Ukrainian television that the area had been hit by two or three Russian rockets and that the incident was « a further confirmation of the crimes of the Russian Federation, confirmation that they are bombing residential areas ». «

Chasiv Yar and other towns in Donetsk have come under heavy fire in recent days as Russian forces try to crush Ukrainian resistance in the region and move further west.

Donetsk and Luhansk are the two regions that together form Donbass, the eastern part of Ukraine where the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists began in 2014. The region has become the centerpiece of ambition Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military in Ukraine after his troops failed to take control of Kyiv earlier this year.

Russian troops have already taken control of almost all of the Luhansk region, Lugansk region military administration chief Serhiy Hayday said in a telegram on Saturday, adding that some 300,000 people from the area had been forced to flee their homes.

Ukrainian forces withdraw from Lysychansk, their last stronghold in a key region
Lysychansk, the last city still under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, fell to Russia last week.

Russian troops have since focused on the Donetsk region, shelling large areas along the frontline and pushing from the Lugansk region into the Donetsk region, according to Hayday.

The Ukrainians have been defending this area against Russian attacks for over a month.

« We are trying to contain the armed formations of the Russians along the entire front line, » Hayday said, adding that « the occupation forces have achieved minor successes and are continuing their offensive west of Lysychansk. »

CNN’s Manveena Suri, Yulia Kesaieva and Josh Pennington contributed reporting.

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