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Russian missiles: Man and child killed in Zaporizhzhia

April 9, 2023

A Russian missile strike has killed a 50-year-old man and his daughter in Zaporizhzhia. Meanwhile, some Ukrainians are celebrating Easter ahead of the Orthodox calendar. Follow DW for more.

A volunteer inspects remains of a residential house damaged by a Russian missile strike
Russia's war in Ukraine has already killed thousands of civiliansImage: REUTERS

A Russian missile struck a house in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing a 50-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter, officials reported on Sunday.

"The enemy carried out a missile attack on Zaporizhzhia and killed another Ukrainian family," the head of the State Emergency Service, Sergiy Kruk, wrote on social media.

The girl's 46-year-old mother was pulled alive out of the rubble. Another elder daughter was not at home at the time of the attack.

Head of the Zaporizhzhia City Council, Anatoliy Kurtiev, said that two Russian missiles hit the building, damaging other houses nearby too.

Zaporizhzhia is close to the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces. The Zaporizhzhia province is one of four that Russia claimed to have annexed last year, although it does not control the provinces in their entirety.

According to a March 20 toll from the UN's human rights commissioner, at least 8,317 civilians had been killed as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine since last February, however, the real number of civilians killed is likely much higher.

Military analyst Frank Ledwidge on the second spring of Ukraine war

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Sunday, April 9:

Kyiv condemns Vatican peace appeal

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko has criticized accused the Vatican of drawing an equivalence between Ukraine and Russia.

At the 10th station of the Way of the Cross procession in Rome, two young people from Ukraine and Russia jointly appealed for peace. The Ukrainian boy came from the Russian-annexed southeastern city of Mariupol, while the Russian boy said his older brother had died in the war.

The spokesperson's comments also come after Pope Francis made an address in which he urged God to "shed the light of Easter on the people of Russia."

"Unfortunately, we have to say that this year's procession was again overshadowed by an attempt to equate victims and aggressors," Nikolenko declared.

"The joint participation of a Ukrainian and a Russian [in the procession] distorts the reality that Russia has plunged Ukrainians into by committing a genocide against them," he argued.

The spokesperson argued that drawing an equivalence between Ukraine and Russia brings about suffering and does nothing to contribute to reconciliation.

"We are disappointed that the Holy See did not take into account the arguments of the Ukrainian side about the offensive nature of such a gesture," he said.

Last year, Kyiv also criticized a joint appeal by a Ukrainian and Russian at the Way of the Cross procession.

Some Ukrainian Christians celebrating Easter ahead of Orthodox calendar

Ukrainian officials wished a happy Easter to those Ukrainians who were celebrating the holiday on Sunday.

A growing number have turned away from the Julian Calendar used by the Russian Orthodox Church, according to which Easter would take place next week.

The full-scale Russian invasion last year has led many Ukrainian Christians to seek a break with their Orthodox neighbors and look to their Western supporters.

Bakhmut will not be the next breakthrough, senior war studies fellow tells DW

Though eyes are currently on eastern Ukraine's city of Bakhmut, where Russia has been battling for control for some six months, Mike Martin, a senior fellow in war studies at King's College London, expects the next breakthrough of the war to be elsewhere.

"The Russians are going to try and cut the supply lines and that may necessitate a Ukrainian withdrawal. But if the Ukrainians can hold that supply line, then they'll hold Bakhmut," Martin told DW.

He speculated that Ukrainian forces are only interested in holding onto Bakhmut "to tie the Russians up." Martin said he expected breakthroughs in the war to be elsewhere, listing the southeastern town of Zaporizhzhia as a potential breakthrough.

Expert dissects intelligence on Bakhmut

Martin said that the Russians' progress in Bakhmut has been slow and at a great cost, though he speculated that Russian forces would be able to take it.

"They're being very, very incompetent. At the moment, the Russians control the city on three sides, yet they failed to close the noose, if you like, to entrap all those Ukrainian forces. Instead, they're moving forward building by building in the city center. So there is progress on the Russian side, but it's very, very slow and very costly for them."

Zelenskyy may accept Charlemagne Prize in person

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the recipient of this year's Charlemagne Prize, an award given to people for their service in unifying Europe.

The ceremony is set to take place on May 14, in the western German city of Aachen.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will give a speech at the ceremony, is hopeful that Zelenskyy will show up in person to receive the award in what would mark his first time in Germany since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year.

ab/kb (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)