President Zelensky has strongly criticized a deliberate attack on the tranquil city of Kostyantynivka in Ukraine. A tragic explosion occurred on a busy market street during daylight hours, a rare occurrence. Located near the front lines in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, Kostyantynivka bore the brunt of this violence. Videos circulating on social media depict a bright orange explosion at the far end of the street, where people were shopping. Russia has not issued a statement regarding the attack.
Volodymyr Zelensky, holding Moscow responsible, emphasized that the victims were innocent civilians, warning that the death toll could rise. He stated that dealing with Russia meant ignoring the audacity of evil. Approximately 32 individuals are believed to have been injured, with reports of damage to the market, shops, and a pharmacy.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reassured residents that all essential services were operational, and the fire had been contained. Later in the evening, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klimenko announced the successful completion of the search and rescue operation.
Online footage and images depict the moment of the explosion and its gruesome aftermath. This appears to be one of the most devastating attacks in several months, occurring on a bustling street as people frequented market stalls and café terraces.
Ukraine prosecutor-general has initiated an investigation into the attack, pursuing criminal proceedings for violations of the laws and customs of war. A statement from their office emphasized their commitment to documenting war crimes committed by the Russian Federation.
Russia has not claimed responsibility for the attack, consistently denying the targeting of civilians in their offensive. Kostyantynivka, situated near the conflict zone, has suffered multiple attacks this year, resulting in civilian casualties.
Kostyantynivka is approximately 17 miles (27km) from Bakhmut, a city known for intense fighting. Since 2014, Donetsk has been under the control of Russia’s proxy authorities, with Ukrainian forces being accused of targeting it repeatedly since the conflict with Russia began in February.
The attack coincided with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where he met with Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Sirens rang out across the country before his arrival, and Kyiv’s air defense system intercepted missiles aimed at the capital. It was expected that Mr. Blinken would announce a new US aid package for the war-torn country during his visit.