At least 33 people died after a barrage of rockets shot by Russian air force hit the city of Chernihiv in Ukraine on Thursday, destroying a high-rise apartment building and two schools, officials said. Horrifying dashcam footage captured the moment a flurry of rockets flows overhead and then starts slamming into the block of flats killed 33 civilians during the carnage.
Authorities said that the bodies of the 33 people had to pulled out from the rubble after the attack in which 18 people were also reported to have been seriously wounded. The town of Chernihiv lies 75 miles (120 kms) northeast of Kyiv, which the Russian forces have been trying to invade from the north.
The entire attack in Chernihiv was captured on the dashcam of a car passing through although the driver luckily escaped unhurt. The video, which was verified by Reuters, shows the driver gently driving through the city center when the silence is broken by a whoosh and then a massive detonation immediately ahead.
When the short clip is slowed down, it shows at least six rockets hitting the buildings, with terrified civilians can be seen fleeing from the inferno as smoke rises and the wailing of a car alarm pierces the air.
Officials had earlier said that nine people were killed in the attack but it was later revised to at least 33 dead, while 18 were reportedly wounded. "Russian aircraft also attacked two schools in the Staraya Podusivka area (of Chernihiv) and private homes. Rescuers are working in the area," the governor of the Chernihiv region, Vyacheslav Chaus, said on Telegram.
Ukraine's emergencies service later released photos showing plumes of smoke coming out of heavily damaged apartments, with debris scattered across a yard and rescuers carrying bodies on stretchers.
Chaus later said that that the damage was extensive with several building turning into mere rubble within minutes of the attack. Photos show extensive damage to buildings and automobiles, with smoke still rising in the area. Chaus also said that the two schools that were bombed were "completely destroyed."
"Many apartment buildings were damaged, windows were broken, walls, roofs, balconies were damaged, walls and ceilings were destroyed in some places," he wrote.
"There are NO military facilities nearby. Nearby are hospitals, several schools and kindergartens, dozens of high-rise buildings," he said. "Rescue work is ongoing," the governor said, suggesting the tally of dead and injured could still rise.
Vladislav Atroshenko, the mayor of Chernihiv, also urged local "fighters and men" to "protect their hometown and Ukraine with guns in their hands!"
On the town's official Telegram page, Russian President Vladimir Putin was referred to as a "bastard," and the municipality swore to "fight these fâing Nazis!"
The attack on Chernihiv came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stood defiant, vowing that Vladimir Putin would be held accountable for every Ukrainian killed.
The bombings also hit towns and villages in the larger Kyiv region, with photographs showing a completely demolished residential tower in neighboring Borodyanka.
Former comedian turned politician Zelensky, who has been lauded as a hero for his leadership during the crisis, has promised to retaliate against Russia.
"We will rebuild every single house, every single street, every single city," he said.
"And we are telling Russia - learn the words 'reparations' and 'contributions'. You will pay back fully to us for what you've done against our state, against our every single Ukrainian."