Ukrainian officials on Tuesday accused the Kremlin’s forces of targeting rescue workers by hitting residential buildings with two consecutive missiles — the first one to draw crews to the scene and the second one to wound or kill them.
The strikes Monday evening in the downtown district of the city of Pokrovsk killed nine people and wounded more than 80 others, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. According to Ukrainian authorities, one of those killed was an emergency official, and most of those wounded were police officers, emergency workers and soldiers who rushed to assist residents.
The Russian missiles slammed into the center of Pokrovsk in the eastern Donetsk region, which is partially occupied by Russia. Emergency crews were still removing rubble on Tuesday. The Iskander missiles, which have an advanced guidance system that increases their accuracy, hit within 40 minutes of each other, according to Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Since the start of the war, Russia has used artillery and missiles to hit targets and then struck the exact same spot around 30 minutes later, often hitting emergency teams responding to the first blast. The tactic is called a “double tap” in military jargon. Russians used the same method in Syria’s civil war.