Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that at least 16 people were killed in a Russian airstrike on a Ukrainian town in the eastern Dontesk region.
At least one among the 16 dead is a child, Ukrainian forces said, and at least 28 others are believed to have been injured in the attack. Russia has launched a steady stream of missiles into Ukraine throughout the war, often hitting civilian targets.
“A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong,” Zelenskyy said in a social media post. “This Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible.”
The missile struck the city of Kostiantynivka, which boasts a population of roughly 65,000 and lies near the front lines with Russian forces.
“All services are working,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. “The fire is contained.”
The deadly attack occurred just hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit with Zelenskyy.
Ukrainian forces are in their third month of counterattacks against Russian forces, but they have yet to make a major breakthrough in the Russian lines. Blinken’s trip is focused on assessing the strategy and effectiveness of Ukraine’s tactics.
The counteroffensive is facing a closing window of opportunity as Ukraine’s bitter winter encroaches with little progress being made.
In addition to Zelenskyy, Blinken is expected to meet with Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to discuss the ongoing counteroffensive and reconstruction efforts.
The U.S. has already delivered more than $110 billion in military aid for Ukraine since the war began, and President Biden’s administration has pushed to continue the flow. Blinken is expected to announce a smaller package of support on Wednesday, followed by a larger announcement from the White House later in the week.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.