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Civilians killed in Russian strike on Ukraine homes

At least 11 people - including a two-year-old child - have been killed in Russian shelling of Slovyansk in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said around 21 others had been wounded in the attack on a residential district of the city.

Gov Kyrylenko added that several more were missing, warning that they could be trapped beneath the rubble.

In a post to social media, President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned what he called a brutal and evil attack.

"The evil state once again demonstrates its essence," he wrote on Telegram. "Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life."

Officials confirmed that one of those killed was a two-year-old child. A senior adviser to Mr Zelensky said the child had been pulled alive from the rubble, but died in an ambulance while being taken to hospital.

Gov Kyrylenko said five houses and five blocks of flats were hit in the strike, while businesses and shops were also damaged in the blasts, which took place at around 18:00 local time (16:00 BST).

He added that the strike had likely been carried out using repurposed S-300 missiles. The system was originally designed as a surface-to-air defence system, but Russia has increasingly used it to strike ground targets in Ukraine as the war has progressed and Moscow's stores of munitions have been depleted.

Reporters from the AFP news agency witnessed rescue workers digging for survivors at the scene of one of the blasts, as black smoke billowed from another building across the street.

They added that the street, which included a playground, was littered with debris that included torn pages from school books and children's drawings.

Earlier, Andriy Yermak - the head of Mr Zelensky's private office - said seven explosions had been heard in the city, some of which took place near a school.

While Ukraine still controls Slovyansk, the city lies just 27 miles (45km) north-west of Bakhmut, which has been the centre of an extensive Russian assault for several months.

Russia has been trying to capture the city since last summer, and on Friday defence officials in Moscow said mercenaries from the Wagner group were continuing to attack the city.

Russian airborne troops were "providing support to assault squads and halting the enemy's attempts to deliver ammunition to the city and bring in reserves," the statement added.

Ukraine insists that it will continue to defend Bakhmut, which military analysists say has limited strategic value. But Russia is believed to have suffered extremely high casualties trying to capture the city.

An analysis of open sources conducted by the BBC's Russian service established the identities of at least 20,451 Russian soldiers killed since the war began. Some 1,820 of those deaths came in the last two weeks, the analysis found.

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