According to official sources, at least seven people, including a child, have been killed in a Russian missile attack in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. At least 90 other people were injured in the shelling in the busy city center, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko wrote on Telegram on Saturday. Children are also among the injured.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously announced that a rocket had landed not far from the Chernihiv theater. "It's an ordinary Saturday that Russia turned into a day of pain and loss," he wrote. A square, the Polytechnic University and a theater were hit. He also published a short video showing debris on the sidewalk.
AFP news agency journalists at the scene saw fire engines in front of the damaged building of the Taras Chevchenko Theater and Music Academy. Several other nearby buildings also sustained minor damage.
The governor of the Chernihiv region, Vyacheslav Tschaus, wrote that the city had been hit by a ballistic missile, according to initial findings. He called on the population to stay in shelters for the time being.
Zelenskyy, meanwhile, arrived in Sweden with his wife Olena for a visit. He will hold talks with the government, political parties and the Swedish royal family, Zelenskyj wrote in the online service X, formerly known as Twitter. The main topics will be "partnership, defense cooperation, EU integration and common Euro-Atlantic security". Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson received Zelenskyj at his summer home in Harpsund, southwest of Stockholm.
Chernihiv is around 150 kilometers north of Kiev towards the border with Belarus, which is allied with Russia. Russian forces had marched through Chernihiv when they began their invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and were then pushed back by Ukrainian forces. Since then, the north of Ukraine has been largely spared the fierce fighting in the east and south of the country.
The attack came just after the Kremlin announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet in southern Russia with generals in charge of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine. Putin held a meeting at the headquarters of the "military special operation" in Rostov-on-Don, the Kremlin announced on Saturday morning. The Kremlin chief listened to reports from Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, commanders and other high-ranking officials.
Moscow did not provide any information on the date of the meeting. Footage released by state media suggested it took place at night.
Meanwhile, the Russian army said on Saturday it had "eliminated" about 150 Ukrainian soldiers attempting to cross the Dnipro River into Russian-held territory. The Russian military "defeated" an "enemy" unit of around 150 people. The military said they tried to gain a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro.
Ukrainian forces are attempting to penetrate Moscow's defenses on the Dnipro, the front line in the south of the country. Moscow said on Friday that "sabotage" groups had been deployed around the river.
More than 1,300 kilometers as the crow flies in northwestern Russia, the Russian army claims to have fended off a Ukrainian drone attack. Around 10:00 a.m. (local time, 9:00 a.m. CEST), Kiev "carried out a terrorist attack using a helicopter-like drone on a military airfield in the Novgorod region," the Defense Ministry in Moscow said. Accordingly, the drone was shot down "with light weapons".
A fire broke out at the aircraft parking lot but was quickly extinguished, the ministry continued. An airplane was damaged, but there were no casualties.
Novgorod has rarely been the target of attacks Moscow blames on Kiev. It is several hundred kilometers from the Russian capital Moscow - and even further from the Ukrainian border.