Russian Strikes Take Mounting Toll As Zelenskyy Set To Visit Turkey


(RFE/RL) — Ukrainian officials reported that a Russian missile strike on the northeastern city of Sumy caused an unknown number of civilian injuries and deaths in the latest in a series of intensified deadly Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure sites.

The attack came amid reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will continue his global push for support with a trip to meet Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on March 8.

The Turkish presidency said on X, formerly Twitter, that “the visit will encompass a detailed discussion of the course of the Ukraine-Russia war, the recent situation of contacts regarding the continuation of the Grain Corridor Agreement, and the efforts for lasting peace in the region.”

NATO member Turkey has attempted to maintain good relations with both Ukraine and Russia and helped mediate an earlier Black Sea grain deal with Moscow that aided efforts to get Ukrainian exports to world markets.

Turkey has been pressing Moscow to return to the now-stalled grain initiative — also brokered by the UN — but Russia has said it isn’t planning to revive it.

Details remain unclear about the Sumy attack, but Ukrainian media said a hospital and a school were damaged by Iranian-made Shaheed drones. Early reports said five people, including one child, were injured, but local media later said several people had been killed.

“Unfortunately, there are three strikes in different parts of the city. All emergency services are working on the ground. The victims are provided with the necessary medical care,” the regional military command said in a statement.

Zelenskiy condemned the strike, saying, “The Russian state will definitely be held responsible for this evil.”

Russia continued to strike civilian areas of Ukraine indiscriminately, causing more casualties and material damage, the Ukrainian military and regional officials said on March 7.

Shelling killed at least two people and wounded 16 in four Ukrainian regions, while the Black Sea port city of Odesa was targeted again by a Russian missile, regional officials said on March 7.

Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synyehubov said a 70-year-old man was killed by a Russian Iskander-M missile in the village of Borova, where eight civilians, including five children, were also wounded.

Donetsk region Governor Vadym Filashkin said one person was killed by Russian shelling in Netailove and three more people were wounded. Oleksandr Prokudin, the governor of the Kherson region, reported that four people were wounded by Russian shelling across the region.

Russian artillery fire wounded a man in the village of Bilenka in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya on March 6, according to the head of the regional military administration, Ivan Fedorov.

The Ukrainian military said that Russia launched a strike at Odesa, probably using a ballistic missile, hitting port infrastructure.

The strike came a day after several people were killed in a Russian missile attack that hit some 500 to 800 meters away from Zelenskiy and Greek Prime Minister Konstantin Mitsotakis, who were visiting Odesa.

Regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram on March 7 that “people were killed and wounded” in the attack, without specifying how many.

In Russia’s northwestern region of Vologda, the governor confirmed media reports on March 7 saying a drone hit a major metallurgical plant, Severstal, in the city of Cherepovets.

Georgy Filimonov said no casualties were reported in the attack and that the facility continued to operate “routinely.”

Hours before, Severstal officials said “a technical incident” took place in the plant without mentioning any drone attack.

Since Russia launched its ongoing invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many military objects and industrial facilities have been targeted by drones. Kyiv rarely comments on the attacks.

Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said it had destroyed six Ukrainian drones on March 7 over three Russian regions.

One drone was intercepted over the Kursk region, three were destroyed over the Bryansk region, and two more were destroyed in the Tula region. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

A day earlier, a Ukrainian drone struck the Mikhailovsky Mining and Processing Plant in Zheleznogorsk, in the Kursk region, sparking a fire after hitting a fuel tank. Ukraine has not commented on the news, which could not be independently confirmed.

In Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Haar Store said in a statement on March 7 that his government will allocate $153 million to an initiative launched by the Czech Republic to purchase ammunition for Ukrainian troops, who have been suffering from a shortage of weapons and ammunition needed to stave off the assault of the vastly better armed and equipped Russian forces on the eastern front.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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