Mykolaiv in Ukraine hit by heavy shelling as Putin makes ‘lightning fast’ threats


The mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevych, said cluster munitions blew out windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolaiv was shelled massively today. Probably the strongest of all time,” he said in a statement.

A CNN team on the ground heard the explosions caused by the strikes and saw fires breaking out during the shelling. Residents interviewed by CNN also said it was the heaviest shelling in the city since the start of the war.

Vitalii Kim, head of Mykolaiv’s regional military administration, said at least one person was killed and two injured in the attack.

In a speech commemorating Russia’s Naval Day in St. Petersburg, Putin made no mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but said the “current situation of his country requires very decisive actions”.

“We will provide firm protection by all means. The key here is the capabilities of the navy, which can respond at lightning speed to anyone who decides to infringe on our sovereignty and freedom,” Putin said.

Putin said delivery of the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile systems would begin in the coming months. Russia said in May it had successfully tested the zircon missile over a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

Allegations of war crimes

Separately, at least three people have been killed and eight injured in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the Donetsk military-civilian government, which said villages in the region had been targeted by artillery, Russian Grad missiles and Uragan missiles.

“11 private residential buildings and a high-rise, a police station, a market, a canteen were damaged and three fields were burned,” the administration said.

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian troops attacked the front lines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called on the remaining residents of the Donetsk region to urgently evacuate in what he called a “government decree”.

“Everything is being organised. Full support, full assistance – both logistics and payments,” he said in his overnight speech. “We just need a decision from the people themselves, who haven’t made it for themselves yet.”

At least 40 inmates were killed in a strike on Friday at a prison in separatist-occupied eastern Ukraine. The Olenivka prison near Donetsk has been used to house many of the Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol several months ago.
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British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons said the strike is part of a pattern of “the worst kind of human rights abuses” in her Twitter on Saturday. “Olenivka needs to be investigated. It appears to be part of an increasingly worrying pattern of the worst kind of human rights violations and potential war crimes committed with impunity in occupied eastern Ukraine,” the ambassador tweeted.

Zelensky said the attack was “a deliberate war crime by the Russians”.

Ukrainian intelligence said the attacks were carried out by the Russian mercenary group Wagner and were not coordinated with the Russian defense ministry. CNN cannot independently verify the allegations made by Ukrainian military intelligence.

Russia blames Ukraine for the attack.

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