Russian missile attack on Ukrainian town kills seven, officials say

Aftermath of a Russian missile strike in Vilniansk

(Reuters) -Russian forces on Saturday fired missiles at the town of Vilniansk, outside the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing seven people, including two children, and injuring 31 others, officials said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy repeated his appeal to allies to provide Ukraine with more long-range weapons and enhanced air defences to stop what he said were daily attacks on his country.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said two missiles were fired on the town, damaging infrastructure, a shop and residential buildings.

Emergency services put the death toll at seven, including two children, with 31 others injured, eight of them children. Firefighters had put out blazes in several buildings and completed rescue operations.

"Today the enemy carried out yet another dreadful terrorist act against the civilian population," Zaporizhzhia Regional Governor Ivan Fedorov said in a video posted on the Telegram messaging app.

The attack occurred in "the middle of the day, a non-working day, in the town centre, where people were out relaxing, where there were no military targets," Fedorov said.

Zelenskiy posted photos from the site showing a large crater, downed trees and a pair of tarpaulins spread out on the ground of what looked like a park.

"Our cities and communities suffer daily from such Russian strikes. But there are ways to overcome this," Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram.

"Destroying terrorists where they are. Destroying Russian missile launchers, striking with real long-range capability and increasing the number of modern air defence systems in Ukraine" were ways to defend against such attacks, Zelenskiy said.

Russia's Defence Ministry did not reply to a request for comment on the incident.

The Russian ministry, writing on Telegram, said its missiles had struck a nearby area in Zaporizhzhia region where it said Ukrainian trains unloaded arms and military equipment, killing soldiers and destroying armoured vehicles and missiles.

The post, accompanied by a photo of a strike, identified the site as the village of Ukrainka, less than 10 km (six miles) from Vilniansk.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield accounts from either side.

The governor of Donetsk region, further to the east, said one person died in two incidents of shelling in the city of Kurakhove. Officials said two people in Kherson region, partly occupied by Russian forces in the south, were also killed.

Rescue teams also were still working at an apartment building that was badly damaged in a missile strike on Friday in the central city of Dnipro. That attack killed one person and injured 13, with a number of others still missing.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksander Kozhukhar; Editing by Paul Simao)