The Ukrainian leader also shared a disturbing video of the moment that artillery hit the market in Kostiantynivka in the eastern Donetsk region. The sound of an incoming projectile can be heard before a large explosion erupts in the middle of a road, causing damage to surrounding buildings and prompting terrified civilians to flee for their lives.
“When someone in the world still attempts to deal with anything Russian, it means turning a blind eye to this reality,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “The audacity of evil. The brazenness of wickedness. Utter inhumanity.”
“At this moment, the attack by Russian terrorists has killed 16 people in the city of Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region,” he added. “A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong. Many wounded. Unfortunately, the number of casualties and the injured may rise.”
Zelensky expressed his condolences “to all who have lost loved ones” and said “Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible.”
Following the clip of the explosion, Zelensky’s video included other images from the attack. They showed burning cars and buildings. A woman on her knees, crying out next to a lifeless body. Corpses strewn along the street. A pharmacy’s floor slicked with blood. Firefighters working to battle the flames.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal separately condemned the “terrible terrorist act.” “As a result of the shelling of the market, 16 people are already known to have died, including 1 child,” Shmyhal wrote on Telegram. “At least 20 people were injured.”
He said the fire had been contained after the explosion and thanked emergency services for their efforts responding to the massacre. “[T]he Russian troops are terrorists who will not be forgiven and will not rest,” Shmyhal added. “There will be a fair retribution for everything.”
The attack Wednesday comes just two days after the chairman of the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said it had not yet received sufficient evidence to conclude that a genocide is taking place in Ukraine. Chairman Erik Møse said the inquiry had found a “large number of war crimes,” however, and that “certain statements in Russian media” could “be relevant to the issue of incitement to genocide.”
The strike also occurred on the same day that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv in a show of support to Ukraine. A senior State Department official told reporters on the trip that Blinken is likely to announce another $1 billion worth of wartime assistance to Ukraine during his two-day visit, according to Reuters.