LVIV, Ukraine — After an airstrike on a shopping center in central Ukraine this week, attention once again turned to the great human cost of war far from the battlefield.
But across the country, civilian deaths are also rising slowly, day by day, in small-scale attacks that have claimed the lives of a handful of people. Even in cities and towns far from the grueling battles of the war, civilian casualties continue to climb upward.
“They may be going to military structures, but they are mostly affecting civilian infrastructure,” Vitaly Kim, governor of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, told a news briefing on Wednesday. “I think they are trying to scare the local population and demoralize our army.”
Russian officials have repeatedly defended their actions in Ukraine, saying their attacks have focused on military infrastructure, but they have rapidly destroyed civilian sites.
At least four people were killed in an early morning missile attack on Mykolaiv on Wednesday, after a direct hit on a five-story apartment building, according to local officials, Mr Kim said.
Five others were injured in the attack and search and rescue operations are on. A day earlier, three people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed in shelling in the nearby town of Ochakive. A 3-month-old baby was also fighting for life in the hospital.
“It’s not safe at all,” Mr Kim said of the situation of 250,000 civilians in Mykolaive, noting that security had deteriorated significantly over the past three weeks. “We cannot calculate where the enemy can attack. They are not following any standards of warfare, and they are hitting civilian objects all the time.”
On Wednesday morning, rescuers were also digging through rubble in Ukraine’s central city of Dnipro, where missiles struck a gas station and an industrial complex the day before.
Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council, said in a post on this Wire Two missiles of the app had hit the city on Tuesday. One damaged dozens of cars and the area around the gas station and car repair shop, and the other destroyed some structures in the industrial complex.
“The Ukrainian State Emergency Service is now carrying out rescue operations, removing debris and searching for survivors,” wrote Mr. Lukashuk.
Two people were killed and three others were injured in Russian shelling of communities in northeastern Ukraine’s Sumy region on Tuesday, according to the region’s governor, Dimitro Zhyvitsky. Local officials said one person was killed in the shelling in Donetsk.
Two civilians were killed and at least six others were injured in attacks on a residential building and a business in the Kharkiv region. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is 25 miles from the Russian border. But the region’s governor, Ole Sinyhubov, said there are currently no plans to evacuate civilians.
“We believe that such an evacuation will only be necessary if the city of Kharkiv has been raided,” Mr. Sinyubov said in an interview broadcast on Ukrainian television.