Russian airstrikes in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk hit a number of civilian targets on Friday, according to the New York Post, leaving at least 11 dead – including a two-year-old boy – and injuring at least 21 more.
The attacks occurred just 27 miles northwest of Bakhmut in the Donetsk territory, the site of intense fighting over the past several months.
According to the Daily Mail, the attack on residential targets in the city involved the use of long-range S-300 missiles, which inflicted significant damage, according to reports on the ground.
Authorities revealed that the aforementioned toddler was pulled from the rubble of an apartment block in the immediate aftermath of the strike, but unfortunately died en route to the hospital.
Rescue workers continued to explore the ruins of the buildings overnight, utilizing heavy equipment to shift through the shells of what once stood there, in hopes of finding additional survivors.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said that he expected the tallies of both the dead and injured to rise as searches of the destruction continue.
After the severity of the carnage became apparent, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russia's attack was simply another instance of the brutality its leaders have unleashed since last February.
“The evil state once again demonstrates its essence. Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life,” Zelenskyy said on his Telegram account, according to the Mail.
In a video address, Zelenskyy lamented that there had been few, if any moments in the lead-up to the weekend's Orthodox Easter observances “without Russian murders and terror. This is the evil state and it will be the loser. Victory is our duty given humanity of this sort.”
Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, offered sympathy to the family of the two-year-old killed, noting their “indescribable grief” resulting from the attack that Vadym Liakh, head of the city's military administration said was “one of the most massive since the beginning of this year.”
As the New York Post noted, British intelligence sources Friday indicated that Ukrainian troops were in the process of pulling back from certain locations in Bakhmut in response to a “re-energized” assault by the Russians.
With Kremlin-linked Wagner Group forces improving its cooperation with Russia's own forces, the sources suggested, Ukraine is having to reassess its strategy somewhat.
“Ukrainian forces face significant resupply issues but have made orderly withdrawals from the positions they have been forced to concede,” the British intelligence update added.
The report concluded, “The Ukrainian defense still holds the western districts of the town but has been subjected to particularly intense Russian artillery fire over the previous 48 hours.”
Also on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that permits authorities in his country to use electronic draft notices to summon new troops, prompting speculation that a new mobilization may be in the offing, according to the Associated Press.
In the past, such notices had to be delivered in person, but according to the new provisions, they will still be mailed to conscripts and reservists, but will be deemed active as soon as they also appear on an electronic portal operated by the state.
The move is seen as a strategy designed to thwart those who previously attempted to evade the draft by leaving their address of record, and according to the law, anyone who does not appear for service as directed will face suspension of their driving privileges and of their ability to dispose of apartments and other significant assets.
Though the Kremlin authorities have denied that this is being done in advance of a massive mobilization, others argue that it is indeed being done in preparation for an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the near future.