Strike on Mykolaiv barracks kills dozens

Six rockets, then silence. This Friday, around six o’clock in the morning, a strike hit a military barracks in Mykolaiv, killing dozens.

“No less than 200 soldiers were sleeping in the barracks,” Maxime, a 22-year-old soldier, who came from another position nearby, told AFP, watching the scene with a flabbergasted air. “At least 50 bodies have been extracted, but we don’t know how many are left under the rubble,” continues the young soldier. Evguéniï, another soldier on the spot, estimates that the strikes could have killed 100 people.

However, it is impossible to have an official report or elements on the attack. The information remains locked, at a time when the official discourse wants Mykolaiv, “shield” of Odessa, the large strategic port located 130 km further west, to resist and repel the assaults of Russian troops.

Rescue operations still ongoing

Authorities have been saying for several days that enemy forces have been pushed back towards Kherson, a Russian-held city further east. But the deadly strikes, which have already affected civilians and military positions for two weeks, do not stop.

“We are not authorized to say anything, because the rescue operations are not over, and the families have not all been notified”, explains in Ukrainian then in Russian Olga Malarchuk, a military spokesperson, visibly moved. . “We are not yet in a position to announce a balance sheet, and I cannot tell you how many soldiers were present,” she adds.

The Ukrainian presidency does not answer questions about this bombardment. In a video on Facebook, the regional governor of Mykolaiv, Vitaly Kim, told him: “Yesterday the orcs cowardly carried out missile strikes against sleeping soldiers”, and added to wait for official information from the armed forces.

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“Fights! You will win »

On the devastated site, rescuers and firefighters have been working tirelessly since Friday, accompanied by the haunting sound of the digger clearing the huge pile of stones, concrete, twisted metal rods. A bloody arm and a piece of human torso are placed on a tarpaulin by the rescuers. Further on, three bodies, including one covered with a white sheet, were removed from the rubble. The military bags and bulletproof vests of the victims are gathered in a corner.

A few meters from the destroyed barracks, another less damaged building still houses a dormitory and some offices. All the windows are smashed, military rangers are scattered on the floor. A small painting of a religious icon, as well as photos of soldiers, resisted and remained hanging on the wall.

A gray stone stele, representing a sailor leaning on a rifle and ships in the background, remained standing in this spectacle of desolation. It was probably to be affixed to the entrance of the exploded barracks. We can read a poem whose first words are: “Combats! You will win”.

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