More than 60 people are now feared dead after a Russian bomb hit a school in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, the local governor says.
Some 90 local residents had been sheltering in the school in the village of Bilohorivka near the frontline in the Donbas region.
Regional governor Serhiy Haidai said a Russian plane had dropped the bomb on Saturday, but his accusation could not be independently verified and there was no immediate response from Russia.
The Russians dropped a powerful aerial bomb on a school in the village of Belogorivka in Luhansk Region, where 90 people were hiding from shelling. 30 people have been taken out from under the rubble. Ukraine continues saving the people pic.twitter.com/VUaZZoTjfF
— Iuliia Mendel (@IuliiaMendel) May 7, 2022
The entire village in Ukraine used the school as a shelter
The blast brought down the building which caught fire. It took firefighters three hours to extinguish the blaze, according to the governor, writing on Telegram.
He reported that nearly the entire village had been sheltering in the basement of the school.
The final death toll would be known only when the rubble had been cleared, he added.
Bilohorivka is close to the government-held city of Severodonetsk, where government forces are battling Russian troops and separatists.
🇺🇦 MFA strongly condemns #Russian shelling of a school in Bilohorivka, sheltered 60 people, on May 7. #Russia committed this brutal war crime shortly before the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, constantly repeating the tragedy of World War II.#StopRussianWar pic.twitter.com/dxf3fX7GrZ
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) May 8, 2022
Millions of Ukrainians have fled the Russian invasion
Russia’s 10-week-old war on Ukraine has killed thousands, destroyed cities, and driven five million Ukrainians to flee the country.
The besieged port city of Mariupol, a strategic target for Russian forces, has been virtually annihilated with the last 300 civilians trapped in the bombed-out Azovstal steelworks evacuated on Saturday.
Evacuation efforts on Sunday will now focus on getting the wounded and medics out of the steel plant.