Russian missiles strike home town of Ukraine’s Eurovision entry during contest

University town of Ternopil, home of Tvorchi, targeted by missiles with two people injured

The hometown of Ukraine’s Eurovision entry came under fire from Russian missiles during the song contest on Saturday.

Ternopil, the university home town of electronic music duo Tvorchi, was among the places targeted, according to Dame Melinda Simmons, the British ambassador to Ukraine.

Simmons wrote on Twitter: “Meanwhile, this #Eurovision night Ukraine is under another Russian missile attack.”

Praising Ukraine’s participants in the song contest, Simmons added: “Tvorchi (definitely) win the prize for graphics. The staging was brilliant.

“And poignant as their university home town of Ternopil was targeted by (Russian) missiles this eve.”

Local authorities, writing on Telegram, said the strike had hit warehouses owned by commercial enterprises and a religious organisation, injuring two people.

Tvorchi said this week they hoped to shine a spotlight on their country’s fight for freedom.

Earlier on Saturday, Ukrainian troops advanced in the eastern city of Bakhmut. Forces are advancing in two directions in Bakhmut but the situation in the city centre is more complicated, deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar said.

“The enemy is not able to take control of the city,” Malyar wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Separately, Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked Pope Francis on Saturday to back Kyiv’s peace plan and the pope indicated the Vatican would help in the repatriation of Ukrainian children taken by Russians.

The Ukrainian president was in Rome for a one-day visit, also meeting Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, and the prime minister, Giorgia Meloni.

Zelenskiy, who was visiting Rome for the first time since the war began, spoke with the pope for 40 minutes and presented him with a bulletproof vest that had been used by a Ukrainian soldier and later painted with an image of the Madonna.

A Vatican statement said that in their private talks, Zelenskiy and the pope discussed “humanitarian gestures”, which a Vatican source said was a reference to the Vatican’s willingness to help with the repatriation of Ukrainian children.

Kyiv estimates nearly 19,500 children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea since February 2022, in what it condemns as illegal deportations.

“We must make every effort to return them home,” Zelenskiy said in a tweet afterwards, saying he had discussed it with the pope.

The Ukrainian president also said he asked the pope to “join” Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan.

“I asked (the pope) to condemn Russian crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor,” Zelenskiy said in his tweet.


Nadeem Badshah

The GuardianTramp

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