The death toll from a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar reached 30 on Monday, even as another attack killed three more in the second-largest city of Kharkiv.
The civilian deaths punctuated the human cost of the war for Ukraine, now in in its fifth month. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy contended that Russia has a "big advantage" in artillery despite the shipment of billions of dollars in munitions from Western governments to Ukraine.
The five-story apartment building was demolished by a rocket attack Saturday. Nine people were rescued from the rubble, but many more were trapped.
Chasiv Yar is about 20 kilometers southeast of Kramatorsk, a city that is expected to be a major target of Russian forces as they push farther westward into Donetsk province after claiming victory a week ago in the adjoining Luhansk province.
The attack was the latest strike in recent weeks that left mass civilian casualties, although Russia contends it only targets Ukrainian military operations. A late June attack killed at least 19 people at a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, and an attack on an apartment building and recreation area in the southern Odesa region killed 21 this month.
Further north in Kharkiv, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said Monday's strikes with artillery, multiple rocket launchers and tanks injured 31 people, including two children, in addition to the three deaths. At least one of the strikes hit a residential building in the city, where a column of flats collapsed into rubble.
"I saw lights, the headlights of rescuers, and I started screaming, 'I am alive. Please get me out,'" survivor Valentina Popovichuk told Reuters on a nearby Kharkiv street.
She was asleep when her building was hit three or four times in the early morning.
"The rescuers entered the hallway, knocked down the door, and took me out," Popovichuk said.
The Russian attacks are part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's effort to take control of the eastern industrialized Donbas region after failing earlier in the war to topple the Zelenskyy government or capture the capital, Kyiv.
But Zelenskyy said Russia "indeed unfortunately has a big advantage in artillery" in the eastern Ukraine fighting.
"With all the partners who are ready to give support, I talk about artillery. There is indeed not enough."
A spokesman for Ukraine's International Legion, a fighting unit of foreign troops, said Ukraine's heavy artillery was outnumbered roughly eight to one by Russian guns.
Moscow denies targeting civilians, but many Ukrainian cities, towns and villages have been left in ruins. Since the February 24 invasion, attacks on a theater, a shopping center and a railway station have caused dozens of civilian deaths.
Zelenskyy said Russia had carried out 34 airstrikes since Saturday, while his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Moscow should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism over the apartment bombing.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.