17 killed in Russian attack on east Ukraine market

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A Russian strike killed at least 17 people at a market in east Ukraine on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, in an attack he described as deliberate and “heinous”.

The attack came hours after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unexpected trip to Kyiv, where he vowed Washington would stand “side by side” with Ukraine as it pressed ahead with its counteroffensive against Russia.

Projectiles tore through the centre of Kostiantynivka, a town of nearly 70,000 people in the Donetsk region, in one of the deadliest strikes in weeks.

Rescue workers picked through the debris and carried some of the wounded for treatment past charred vehicles and kiosks torn to pieces in the blast.

“Seventeen people were killed and 32 injured as a result of the Russian shelling,” Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said a child was among those killed in the attack, which took place about 20 kilometres from the front line.

Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians and said there were no military units “anywhere near” the scene.

“Heinous evil. Brazen wickedness. Utter inhumanity,” he said.

Blinken, who was in Kyiv with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, condemned the attack as “barbaric” and reiterated US support for Ukraine.

“We will continue to stand with Ukraine until it prevails,” he said.

The attack came as Western leaders have stepped up their support for Ukraine in recent weeks, with the US announcing a new package of military aid worth $400 million.

The European Union is also considering providing Ukraine with additional military assistance, including heavy weapons.

The war in Ukraine has now lasted over a year and there is no end in sight.

The United Nations estimates that over 10,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict, and millions have been displaced from their homes.

The war has also had a devastating impact on the Ukrainian economy, with the country’s currency, the hryvnia, losing half of its value.

The international community has imposed a series of sanctions on Russia in an effort to pressure it to end the war, but these have so far had little effect.

The conflict is a major test for the post-Cold War order, and it remains to be seen how it will be resolved.

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