As many as 60 people are feared to have been killed when a bomb struck a village school in eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said on Sunday while Russian forces continued shelling the last holdout of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined southeastern port of Mariupol.
Luhansk region Governor Serhiy Gaidai said the school in Bilohorivka, where about 90 people were sheltering, was hit on Saturday by a Russian bomb, setting it ablaze.
“There is almost no hope that anyone survived. The aerial bomb exploded in the middle (of the building),” Gaidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “In the school, there were approximately 90 people, 27 were rescued. About 60 people were probably killed.”
Reuters could not immediately verify his account. There was no response from Moscow to the report.
Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russian forces of targeting civilians in the war, something that Moscow denies.
In Mariupol, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment holed up in the sprawling Azovstal steel plant pleaded with the international community to help evacuate wounded soldiers.
“We will continue to fight as long as we are alive to repel the Russian occupiers,” Captain Sviatoslav Palamar told an online news conference.
More than 170 civilians were evacuated from the Mariupol area on Sunday, bringing the total to around 600 given safe passage during a week-long rescue operation, the United Nations said.
As the fighting, now in its third month, raged on, with authorities in the eastern Kharkiv region reporting more casualties of Russian shelling, leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations vowed on Sunday to deepen Russia’s economic isolation and “elevate” a campaign against Kremlin-linked elites.
U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders held a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a show of unity ahead of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on Monday.
The G7 said it was committed to phasing out or banning Russian oil and denounced President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“His actions bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people,” the group said in a statement, referring to Soviet Russia’s role in defeating Nazi Germany 77 years ago.
Washington also unveiled another round of sanctions targeting more executives and businesses as part of a broad effort to isolate Russia and limit resources being used to advance the war. It also announced a new policy of visa restrictions on more than 2,500 Russian military officials and Russian-backed forced in Ukraine, according to a State Department fact sheet.