Russian soldiers in a wheat field in the Zaporizhia region, neighboring that of Kherson, during a visit by journalists organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense, June 14, 2022.
A Ukrainian strike on the occupied town of Nova Kakhova, in the Kherson region, left at least seven dead and dozens injured, according to a provisional report provided by the Russian occupation administration.
The bombardment was confirmed by the two camps, which however provide contradictory information on the toll and the targets hit in this city located about 70 km east of Kherson.
According to Ukrainian army officials in the southern region, the strike killed no less than 52 Russian soldiers and destroyed an ammunition warehouse.
Head of administration military-civilian of Nova Kakhova, Vladimir Leontiev, rather mentioned 7 dead and about 60 wounded, anticipating that the toll will increase since the extent of the damage is enormous.
There is no military target here, he pleaded in a message published on Telegram messaging, in which he denounced an act of terrorism and a terrible tragedy.
Dozens of homes were hit, he added, along with warehouses, shops, a pharmacy, gas stations and even a church. According to him, it is clear that it is (an attack) deliberate, violent, cynical with high-precision missiles.
This satellite image provided by the American firm Planet Labs PBC shows the impact of the Ukrainian strike on Nova Kakhova, in the Kherson region.
Dozens of people are now homeless and the city has been heavily damaged, Leontiev also told Russian news agency Tass.
Videos posted on social media, the authenticity of which could not immediately be verified, show a plume of smoke and sparks followed by a huge explosion that lights up the night. Photos show debris thrown around and damaged buildings.
Pro-Russian administration officials say affected warehouses contained saltpeter, a chemical compound that can be used to make fertilizer or gunpowder. This claim was denied by the Ukrainian military.
According to Russian television, the strike was so powerful that windows of buildings within a radius of 2 kilometers shattered. Russian media have also claimed that a hospital and a warehouse containing humanitarian aid had been affected.
All these claims about the affected facilities and damages incurred cannot be independently verified at this time.
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Ekaterina Gubareva, a deputy leader of the Kherson region occupation administration accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out the strike with American multiple rocket launchers HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) whose arrival kyiv had celebrated at the end of June.
HIMARS systems, rocket launchers multiple mounted on light armor, can hit targets about 80 kilometers away, and Kyiv said it hoped they would repel Russian forces in places.
Early this month July, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported that HIMARS systems were likely used to strike an ammunition depot in the occupied town of Melitopol, in the Zaporizhia region, neighboring that of of Kherson.
With information from Agence France-Presse, Reuters, and BBC