Russian Airstrike Kills 60 Civilians Sheltering At A School in Eastern Ukraine – At least 60 Ukrainian civilians are feared dead after a Russian airstrike targeted a school where more than 90 were sheltering in the separatist-held area of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
Governor Serhiy Haidai said a Russian plane conducted an airstrike on Saturday afternoon on the school in Bilohorivka, where about 90 people were sheltering. The explosion and fire consumed the building.
Haidai posted on his Telegram page, “Bilohorivka (village) was hit in an airstrike. The bombs fell on the school, and unfortunately, it was completely destroyed. There were a total of 90 people, and 27 were saved. Sixty people who were in the school are very probably dead.”
“The fire was extinguished after nearly four hours, and then the rubble was cleared, and, unfortunately, the bodies of two people were found,” he added. “Thirty people were evacuated from the rubble, seven of whom were injured. Sixty people were likely to have died under the rubble of buildings.”
The Luhansk Military Administration released a video that showed emergency responders amid the burning rubble of the building; a witness told Al Jazeera that it was highly unlikely that anyone else survived because “the crater is down to the basement. It’s horrible.”
The airstrike occurred at 4:37 p.m. local time in the village, which is located about seven miles behind the front lines, and the heavy fighting was disrupting the attempts at the rescue operation.
Ukraine Update – All Civilians Evacuated From the Azovstal Steel Plant:
The Ukrainian government has announced that all women, children, and the elderly have been evacuated from the Azovstal Steel Plant in the battered city of Mariupol. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the focus is now on evacuating the wounded left behind and the medical personnel treating them.
The Ukrainian government is also working, Zelensky said, on establishing a relief effort for the trapped forces still inside the plant and for the civilians inside the city who have no electricity, little food, and water.
Health Minister Viktor Liashko said that Ukraine’s health ministry had been hit hard by the effects of the war, and Russian forces have targeted hospitals and health care facilities. At least 40 hospitals have been destroyed and 500 others so heavily damaged that they can no longer provide services.
“Since the beginning of the war, 10 of my colleagues (doctors) have been killed and more than 40 wounded,” Liashko said.
“All this violates the WHO motto: ‘Health for all,’” Liashko added.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO, and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and for another military news organization, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.