2023 04 09t221928z 1 lynxmpej3807i rtroptp 3 ukraine crisis east

Zelenskyy of Ukraine denounces Russian attacks on Orthodox Palm Sunday

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced Russian air strikes coinciding with Orthodox Palm Sunday observance (April 9) including an attack that killed a father and daughter at his home the city of Zaporizhzhia.

The Ukrainian military reported Russian attacks and shelling across the front, with the heaviest fighting still centered on two cities in the eastern Donetsk region – Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Russian forces besieged Bakhmut for months in the longest battle in more than a year of war.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said a 50-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter were killed after Russian forces attacked a residential building in Zaporizhzhia, in the southeast.

A woman identified as the wife and mother of the victims was pulled from the rubble.

“This is how the terrorist state marks Palm Sunday,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “This is Russia’s way of placing itself in an even greater isolation from the world.”

The president praised several units defending positions in the east and said he hoped next year’s Palm Sunday “will take place with peace and freedom for all our people”.

The majority of Ukraine’s 41 million people are Orthodox Christians, who will celebrate Easter a week from now.

Pope Francis, a critic of Russia’s war, prayed for peace during Easter events in the Vatican: “Help dear Ukrainians on their journey towards peace, and shine the light Resurrection for the Russian people.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces destroyed a 70,000-ton fuel depot near Zaporizhzhia. It also said that Russian forces destroyed Ukrainian military warehouses storing missiles, ammunition and artillery in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

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