By Dalton Bennett, Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Kelsey Ables and Ellen Francis
MYKOLAIV, Ukraine — Russian missiles struck two university complexes in the southern city of Mykolaiv early Friday morning, heavily damaging nearby shops and buildings and injuring at least four people, the regional governor said. Washington Post reporters heard explosions in the city beginning around 7:30 a.m. local time. An official investigating possible war crimes could be seen examining a crater caused by one of the weapons, which the governor identified as S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
Also on Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia a ‘terrorist state’ after Thursday’s missile attack on civilian targets in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia that left at least 23 people dead. . Russia, which has denied civilian casualties throughout the war despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, claimed on Friday that the Vinnytsia strike targeted a meeting between Ukrainian officials and foreign arms dealers.
The strikes on the Mykolaiv university complexes came from nine S-300 missiles, a surface-to-air weapon that the Ukrainian military said Russian forces had used on ground targets, possibly due to a shortage of weapons. surface-to-surface missiles. missiles.
At Mykolaiv National University, blasts shattered hundreds of windows and partially collapsed the top floor of the university’s Soviet-era main building. The explosions tossed furniture in classrooms and destroyed labs full of research equipment.
Inside the building, police standing amid piles of books removed shattered glass from the windows of a small library. Outside, dozens of city workers swept glass streets as heavy machinery removed broken concrete thrown dozens of feet by the blasts.
Ukrainian state emergency service workers flew a drone to assess damage to a partially collapsed section of the university’s main building. At least three impact craters were visible. One of the strikes blasted shrapnel and debris into nearby shops and destroyed a semi-truck parked on a side street.
At the National Shipbuilding University, also hit on Friday, a stream of employees entered the building to retrieve documents and computers from the now windowless offices. University employee Yuri Alekseev carefully loaded piles of research papers and computer equipment into his van after receiving a call from a frantic professor in hopes of salvaging what was left of their desk.
“War is war, but studies must continue,” Alekseev said.
Outside, a member of the regional war crimes prosecution office examined a large crater near the building, extracting missile fragments from freshly turned earth.
In Vinnytsia, far from the front lines, the search continued on Friday to find dozens of people missing, after the missile attack on Thursday which left 23 dead and dozens injured, announced the emergency service of the Ukrainian state. A woman laid red roses near the target of a missile strike and rescuers waded through buildings with collapsed walls and shattered windows. A forklift took the burnt carcasses away from the cars.
Three children were among the dead, including a child with Down syndrome named Lisa, Ukrainian officials said.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Friday that its missiles were targeting a meeting of the command of the Ukrainian armed forces, according to the Russian news agency Tass. Ukrainian officials accused Moscow of striking a location without military targets and shared footage that appeared to show a bloodied child and a stroller lying in a debris-strewn street.
Russia regularly claims that it only strikes military targets, even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the missiles also destroyed a medical center and he called on the “democratic world” to declare Russia a “terrorist state”.