KHERSON (Ukraine), Nov. 25 (AP) — The body of Natalia Kristenko lay for hours in a blanket by the door of her apartment. City crews were initially overwhelmed and unable to rescue her as they responded to a string of deadly attacks that have rocked the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.
The 62-year-old was out of the house with her husband after drinking tea on Thursday night when the building was hit.
Kristenko died at the scene from head injuries. Hours later, her husband died in hospital from internal bleeding.
“The Russians took two of my most precious people from me,” said their bereaved daughter, Lilia Kristenko, 38, as she watched in horror Friday as rescuers finally arrived. To take her mother to the morgue, she tucked the cat under her coat.
“They’re doing well, they’re living differently,” she told The Associated Press. “But they died within a day.”
A barrage of missiles struck the recently liberated city of Kherson on Friday, an apparent escalation of attacks since Russia withdrew its troops from the city two weeks ago.
According to Kherson’s military, the city was shelled 17 times before noon on Thursday, and the attack continued into the evening, killing at least four people and wounding 10 others.
Soldiers in the area have warned that Kherson will face heavier blows as Russian troops dig across the Dnieper.
Dozens of people were injured in the attack on residential and commercial buildings, with some homes on fire, ash flying into the air and streets littered with broken glass.
The attacks have devastated neighborhoods that had previously gone untouched by the war, which is just entering its tenth month.
After Kristenko’s parents were shot, she tried to call an ambulance, but there was no phone network, she said.
She said her 66-year-old father held his stomach wound and screamed “it hurts so much, I’m dying”. He was eventually taken to hospital by ambulance, but died during surgery.
People scrutinized what little remained of destroyed homes and shops Friday morning. Food containers lined the floor of a run-down butcher shop and customers lined up at a coffee shop across the street where residents said four people had died the night before.
“I didn’t even know what to say, it was beyond my expectations,” said Diana Samsonova, who worked at the coffee shop, which remained open during the Russian occupation , despite the attack, has no plans to close.
The violence has exacerbated a dire humanitarian crisis. As the Russians retreated, they destroyed critical infrastructure, leaving people with little water and electricity. People became so desperate they searched for redemption among the ruins.
Outside a badly damaged apartment building, residents filled buckets with water that had accumulated on the ground. Mortuary workers wash their bloodstained hands in a puddle.
Valerii Parkhomenko had just parked his car and walked into a coffee shop when a rocket blew up his car.
“We were all squatting on the floor inside,” he said, showing the ashes in his hands. “I feel bad, my car is wrecked and I need it to work and support my family,” he said.
Outside shelled apartment blocks, residents picked up debris and frantically searched for loved ones while paramedics helped the wounded.
“I think it’s terrible and I think all countries need to do something about it because it’s not normal,” said Ivan Mashkarynets, a man in his early 20s, as He was at home with his mother when the apartment building was hit.
“There is no army, no soldiers. Only people who live here and they (still) fire,” he said.
The government said it would help people evacuate if they wanted to, but many said they had nowhere to go.
“There are no jobs (elsewhere), and there are no jobs here,” Ihor Novak said as he stood on the street to inspect the aftermath of the shelling. “Right now, the Ukrainian military is here, and we hope it will be safer with them.” (AP)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)