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Ukraine’s Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘terror’ as missiles rain down

The UN’s cultural agency has inscribed Ukraine’s tradition of cooking borshch soup on its list of endangered cultural heritage

Missiles rained down on Ukraine killing many civilians and wounding dozens in built up areas as the weekend began, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to accuse Russia of state “terror”.

Strikes on a southern resort town left 21 dead and dozens wounded after missiles slammed into flats and a recreation centre in Sergiyvka, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Black Sea port Odessa.

The witness said the strike on Friday was thought to use cluster munitions which spread over a large area before exploding, striking buildings and people who were outdoors.

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Victims of the Sergiyvka attacks included a 12-year-old boy, Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation, adding that some 40 people have been injured and that the death toll could rise.

“Three missiles hit a regular nine-storey apartment building, in which nobody was hiding any weapons, any military equipment,” he added. “Regular people, civilians, lived there.”

Germany swiftly condemned the violence.

The attacks follow global outrage earlier this week when a Russian strike destroyed a shopping centre in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, killing at least 18 civilians.

On Friday, Zelensky hailed a new chapter in its relationship with the European Union, after Brussels recently granted Ukraine candidate status in Kyiv’s push to join the 27-member bloc, even if membership is likely years away.

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Ukrainian lawmakers by video link, said membership was “within reach” but urged them to work on anti-corruption reforms.

And the Pentagon said it was sending a new armament package worth $820 million, including two air defence systems and more ammunition for the Himars precision rocket launchers the United States began supplying last month.

In a decision that further cooled relations between Kyiv and Moscow, the UN’s cultural agency inscribed Ukraine’s tradition of cooking borshch soup on its list of endangered cultural heritage.

UNESCO said the decision was approved after a fast-track process prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Hummus and pilaf are recognised as national dishes of several nations. Everything is subject to Ukrainisation.”

On Thursday, Russian troops abandoned their positions on Snake Island, which had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the first days of the war, and sat aside shipping lanes near Odessa’s port.

But on Friday evening, Kyiv accused Moscow of carrying out strikes using incendiary phosphorus munitions on the rocky outcrop, saying the Russians were unable to “respect even their own declarations”.

Western powers have accused Putin of using the trapped harvest as a weapon to increase pressure on the international community, and Russia has been accused of stealing grain.

While heavy fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, officials said schools in the Ukrainian capital would re-open at the start of the school year on September 1 for the first in-person classes since lessons went online after the invasion began.

bur-gw/spm

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