About 100 Ukrainian soldiers feared dead after Russian strike on barracks

An estimated 200 military personnel were sleeping in complex in the southern city of Mykolaiv

Rescuers carry a Ukrainian soldier saved after 30 hours from debris of the military school hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv. AFP
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Dozens of soldiers were killed after Russian troops struck a Ukrainian military barracks in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

Mykolaiv's governor said rescue work was continuing at the site of an air strike on a complex where Ukrainian soldiers had been sleeping.

Speaking on national television, Vitaliy Kim said the “cowardly” attack took place on Friday but gave no further detail about the location or the number of casualties.

Witnesses to the strike cast light on its ramifications.

“No fewer than 200 soldiers were sleeping in the barracks” when Russian troops struck early on Friday, a Ukrainian serviceman on the ground, Maxim, 22, told AFP news agency without providing his last name.

“At least 50 bodies have been recovered but we do not know how many others are in the rubble,” he said.

Another soldier estimated the bombing could have killed about 100 people.

Authorities have not yet released an official death toll.

The military installation in the north of the city was fully destroyed after being hit by several rockets.

Journalists at the site earlier on Friday saw three bodies, including a shredded corpse, extracted from under the rubble by rescue workers.

One survivor was also pulled out.

“We are continuing to count but it is impossible to know given the state of the bodies,” a rescuer told AFP.

Mykolaiv's mayor Oleksandr Senkevych told local journalists that the city, which had a prewar population of about 500,000, had been struck from the neighbouring region of Kherson, now under Russian control.

For days, the Russians have bombarded Mykolaiv, which lies on the road to the strategic port city of Odesa about 130 kilometres down the Black Sea coastline.

Updated: March 20, 2022, 10:25 AM