Death toll jumps in Russian strike on Ukraine block

STORY: The death toll following a Russian missile strike on an eastern Ukraine apartment block rose on Monday (July 11) as rescue workers pulled bodies - and survivors - from the rubble.

At least two dozen people have been killed in the city of Chasiv Yar, located in Donetsk province.

Emergency services picked brick by brick through the wreckage of the destroyed five-story block, demolished by a rocket on Saturday (July 9).

Reuters video showed rescuers lift a survivor from the ruins to a stretcher, and carry away the bodies of two people in white bags.

Speaking to Reuters on Sunday (July 10), resident Venera described the attack.

"I have two kittens, I wanted to save them but I was thrown into the bathroom, it was all chaos, I was in shock, all covered in blood. By the time I left the bathroom, the room was full of rubble, three floors fell down. I never found the kittens under the the rubble."

The attack on Chasiv Yar was part of Russia's push to capture all of the industrial Donbas region in the east - partly controlled by separatist proxies since 2014, after declaring victory in Luhansk province earlier this month.

Also on Monday, Russian bombardment killed at least three in Ukraine's second largest city Kharkiv, according to the regional governor.

Valentina Popovichuk was saved from a shelled apartment block.

"I saw lights, the headlights of rescuers and I started screaming 'I am alive, please get me out'. The rescuers entered the hallway, knocked down the door and took me out."

The civilian deaths have driven home the human cost of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its fifth month.

Military experts say Russia is using artillery barrages to pave the way for a renewed push for territory by ground forces.

Moscow denies targeting civilians but many Ukrainian cities, towns and villages are left in ruins.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia had carried out more than 30 air strikes since Saturday alone.