Moscow unleashed a flurry of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine, killing students and civilians on Wednesday.
“Russia is shelling the city with bestial savagery,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram, posting a video that purported to show a missile hitting an apartment in Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern Ukrainian city.
“Residential areas where ordinary people and children live are being fired at,” he added.
Russia denies targeting civilians – a war crime under international law – despite artillery and rocket strikes hitting resident areas on an almost daily basis.
Officials in Moscow blame Ukrainian air defences for some of the deadliest strikes, claiming air defence systems are deployed in civilian zones.
One person is known to have died in the attack in Zaporizhzhia, though there could be more casualties.
The city is some 100 km from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has repeatedly come under fire during 13 months of vicious fighting.
On Wednesday, the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency said the plant had lost another backup external power source, creating extra risk as its six reactors rely on only a primary power source.
Meanwhile, at least eight people were killed after an exploding drone struck a student dormitory near Kyiv.
It was not clear how many people were in buildings in the city of Rzhyshchiv, south of the Ukrainian capital, though the body of a 40-year-old man was among those pulled from the rubble.
More than 20 people were hospitalised, according to regional police chief Andrii Nebytov.
Footage captured after the incident showed what appeared to be a bloodied trainer and a green ball strewn on the ground near a damaged building, whose top floor was ripped off at a corner.
The deadly strikes were a violent follow-up to two high-level diplomatic missions aimed at bringing peace to the war-torn corner of Europe.
Also on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left Kyiv after meeting Zelenskyy to support Ukraine, while China’s Xi Jinping concluded a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Beijing’s peace proposal – something both Ukraine and the West flatly rejected.
“Just one day after Russia called for peace, Russia is attacking Ukrainian homes as part of its brutal war,” the United States National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said following the day of bloodshed.
“What Russia is doing is horrific -– and we are committed to continuing to help Ukraine defend itself against this Russian aggression.”