Dozens of people fear being trapped after the Russian strike on a building in Ukraine

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CHASIV YAR, KYIV: Rescuers searched the rubble of a building in eastern Ukraine for two dozen people, including a child, fearing they were trapped after a Russian rocket strike on the five-story building killed 15 people.
President Volodymyr ZelenskyChief of Staff Andriy Yermak said the attack in the city of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region was “another terrorist attack” and Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Rescuers used a crane to lift a concrete slab and their hands to dig through the debris on Sunday, while dazed residents who survived Saturday night’s attack recovered belongings and told stories of their escape miraculous.
A woman was seen exiting the destroyed building carrying an ironing board under her arm, an umbrella and a plastic shopping bag. Others simply watched the rescue efforts, fearing the worst as the dead were removed.
“We ran to the basement, there were three shots, the first somewhere in the kitchen,” said a local resident named Ludmila.
“The second one, I don’t even remember, there was lightning, we ran to the second entrance and then straight into the basement. We stayed there all night until this morning.”
Another survivor, named Venera, said she wanted to save her two kittens.
“I was thrown into the bathroom, it was chaos, I was in shock, all covered in blood,” she said, crying. “By the time I left the bathroom, the room was full of rubble, three floors had collapsed. I never found the kittens under the rubble.”
Russian President Vladimir Cheese fries invaded Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to demilitarize Ukraine and rid it of nationalists.
Ukraine and its Western allies say Putin’s war is an imperial land grab and has accused his forces of war crimes. Moscow denies attacking civilians.
Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II has claimed thousands of lives, left towns and villages in ruins and seen more than 5.5 million Ukrainians flee their country.
fight for territory
Russia abandoned an early advance on the capital Kyiv in the face of fierce resistance reinforced by Western weapons.
Its military campaign now focuses on the south and east of the Donbass region, made up of the provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. The Kremlin wants to hand control of this industrial heartland to pro-Russian separatists who have declared independence from Kyiv.
Russian forces attacked Ukrainian positions near the town of Sloviansk in Donetsk but were forced to withdraw, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday.
Governor of the Lugansk region Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces were gathering near the village of Bilohorivka, about 50 km (30 miles) east of Sloviansk.
Russia “pounds the surrounding settlements, conducts airstrikes, but still cannot quickly occupy the entire Luhansk region,” he said on Telegram.
Russia claimed control of the entire Lugansk province last weekend.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces destroyed two hangars near the Donetsk town of Kostyantynivka containing the US-made M777 howitzers, which it said were used to shell residential areas in Donetsk.
Russian news agencies quoted separatist officials as saying on Sunday that the Ukrainian military had been shelling Donetsk with NATO-standard 155mm artillery since the morning, injuring two residents.
Ukrainian military spokespersons were not immediately available for comment.
In the south, Ukrainian forces fired missiles and artillery at Russian positions, including ammunition dumps in the Chornobaivka region, the Ukrainian military command said.
On Sunday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk warned civilians in the Russian-occupied Kherson region to urgently evacuate as Ukrainian armed forces prepared a counterattack there, without giving a time frame for action.
“I know for sure that there shouldn’t be women and children there, and they shouldn’t become human shields,” she told national television.
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