Russian missile strike on theatre kills seven – including six-year-old girl

Footage shows aftermath of missile strike on Chernihiv

Seven people have been killed including a six-year-old girl, have been killed in a Russian missile attack centred on a theatre in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv today

The attack in Chernihiv – which injured more than 100 more, including other children, was launched as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Sweden on his first foreign trip since attending a NATO summit in Lithuania last month.

Distressing images of the aftermath showed badly damaged buildings including the theatre, which had its roof blown away, as well as mangled cars and survivors walking amid the debris with bloodstained clothes.

An estimated 15 children were among the 129 wounded, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said.

The square in front of the theatre had been bustling with life, with people returning from church after celebrating the Apple Feast of the Saviour religious holiday, baskets of consecrated apples in hand, Mr Klymenko said.

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After the strike, debris from the roof littered the square, along with shattered glass from the windows of nearby cars and restaurants.

The strike hit the theatre during a gathering of drone manufacturers and aerial reconnaissance training schools, organiser Mariia Berlinska confirmed.

Ms Berlinska said that the event was officially agreed in advance with both the local authorities and the venue. The Chernihiv City Council denied that they had approved the event or issued any permits.

Mr Zelensky said the attack showed Russia was a “terrorist state” and urged the world to unite against it.

He said: “A square, the polytechnic university, a theatre. An ordinary Saturday, which Russia turned into a day of pain and loss.”

Chernihiv was surrounded by Russian forces at the start of the war but they withdrew after Ukrainian forces retook control of areas north of Kyiv in April last year.

Mr Zelensky arrived in Sweden on an unannounced visit Saturday – his first to the Scandinavian country since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The war prompted Sweden to abandon its longstanding policy of military nonalignment to support Ukraine with weapons and apply for NATO membership, though it is still waiting to join the alliance.

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At a joint news conference, Mr Zelensky and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced the two countries had agreed to cooperate on the production, training and servicing of Swedish CV90 infantry fighting vehicles. Mr Zelensky said Ukraine would start manufacturing the vehicles as part of the deal.

He also encouraged Kristersson to “share” Sweden’s Gripen fighter aircraft with Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky said: “We do not have superiority in the air, and we do not have modern aircraft.

“In reality, the Swedish Gripen is the pride of your country, and I believe that the Prime Minister could share this pride with Ukraine.”

Sweden has said it will allow Ukrainian pilots to test the Gripen planes but has so far ruled out giving any to Kyiv.

Mr Zelensky added that “appropriate actions” would be taken in coming weeks to help Ukraine obtain “appropriate aircraft.”

He continued: “I will also have negotiations with several other states tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

“I am confident that we, together with our partners, will do everything and achieve the appropriate result in the sky so that the Russians do not have an advantage there.”

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