Moscow accused Kyiv of killing at least 28 people, including 9 women and a child, when its armed forces bombed a bakery and a restaurant in eastern Ukraine, controlled by Russia, using rockets obtained from Western powers. This coincided with President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to his country's forces on the southeastern front amid speculation about the imminent dismissal of the popular army commander.
Russian-backed officials stated that Ukraine bombed the bakery in Lysychansk around 12:30 GMT on Saturday using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a multiple rocket launcher system mounted on light armored vehicles, obtained from the United States.
Russian emergency workers searched overnight for survivors under the rubble of the Adriatic restaurant on Moskovska Street, where a bakery for civilians was established according to Russian officials. Leonid Pasechnik, the governor of the Luhansk region controlled by Russian forces, said, "The Ukrainian armed forces opened fire on a bakery in Lysychansk." Pasechnik explained that the bakery was crowded with civilians at the time of the shelling.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that 10 people were pulled alive from the rubble, but four others are in "very serious condition," and the search operation is still ongoing.
Ukraine has not immediately commented on the attack. The weapons used in the attack could not be verified.
Russia has controlled vast areas of eastern Ukraine after its invasion in February 2022, in the largest land war in Europe since World War II. Russia currently controls approximately 18% of Ukrainian territory, considering it part of Russia. Ukraine and the West have stated they will never accept the annexation of these lands.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the Ukrainian attack, stating that the West should reconsider why its financial support to Kyiv is used to kill civilians. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, "According to preliminary data, the strike was carried out using Western weapons." She added, "EU citizens should know how their taxes are used... they are used to buy lethal weapons and send them to the regime in Kyiv, which uses them to kill civilians."