A midday Russian missile attack on a flight school in central Ukraine left at least five people dead and more than two dozen injured, according to reports. The attack marks the latest civilian target since Russia first invaded the country in February.
Two Russian missiles hit hangars at the National Aviation University Flight Academy located in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine, approximately 320 miles southeast of Kyiv, shortly after noon on July 28, Reuters reported.
“There are casualties, dead and injured,” Andriy Raikovych, regional governor of the Kirovohrad region, told a press conference reported by Reuters. “Twenty-five have already been taken to medical facilities – they have been injured. Five were killed, including a soldier.
In total, at least three planes were destroyed in the attack, according to the news agency. “There are material losses – two civilian aircraft and one [Antonov] Aircraft AN-26.
The flight school, which has been in operation for more than 70 years, has trained more than 120,000 students from 80 countries, he said. The facility includes two training airfields, training aircraft and training complexes.
On Friday, flight school officials inspected the charred skeletal remains of the hangars to assess the extent of the loss.
“The explosion caused a fire, resulting in significant loss of maintenance facilities, including a Cessna aircraft,” the flight school said.
In a statement offering his condolences to those killed, Volodymyr Maksimov, the academy’s acting director, denounced the “treacherous attack” on the flight school’s civilian hangar, “in the middle of the working day”.
According to Maksimov, airmen affiliated with Air Urga, a Ukrainian private airline that operates a fleet of 16 aircraft, including six AN-26-100s, two AN-26s, seven SAAB-340Bs and a Cessna 172-R used for training .
Maksimov praised the quick response of first responders who arrived on the scene immediately after the attack. “A few minutes after the explosion, the academy’s special vehicles began to put out the fire,” he said.
According to Ukrainian defense officials, Russia is increasingly targeting civilian targets in Ukraine.
“Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has attacked civilian targets nearly 60 times more often than military targets,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Monday. “Terrorists carried out 17,300 strikes on civilian property and around 300 on military targets.”
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