Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said cluster munitions smashed windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolayiv was under mass fire today. Probably the strongest ever,” he said in a statement.
A CNN team on the ground heard the explosions caused by the strikes and saw fires erupting from the shelling. Residents polled by CNN also said it was the heaviest shelling in the city since the war began.
At least one person was killed and two injured in the attack, according to Vitalii Kim, head of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration.
In a speech to mark the Russian Navy Day in St. Petersburg, Putin made no mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but said his country’s “current situation requires very decisive action.”
“We will resolutely and by all means provide protection. The key here is the capabilities of the Navy, which is able to react at lightning speed to anyone who decides to encroach on our sovereignty and freedom,” Putin said.
Putin said deliveries of the country’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missile systems will begin in the coming months. Russia said in May it had successfully tested the Zircon missile over a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
War crimes allegations
Separately, at least three people were killed and eight injured in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the Donetsk military-civilian administration, which said villages in the region were being targeted by artillery, Russian Grad rockets and Uragan missiles.
“11 private residential buildings and a skyscraper, a police station, a market, a canteen were damaged and three fields were burned down,” the administration said.
The General Staff of Ukraine said that Russian forces are attacking the front lines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the remaining residents of the Donetsk region in what he called a “government decision” to urgently evacuate.
“Everything is organized. Full support, full support – both logistically and with payments,” he said in his nightly address. “We just need a decision from the people themselves who haven’t made it themselves yet.”
At least 40 inmates were killed in a strike at a prison in separatist-held eastern Ukraine on Friday. The Olenivka prison near Donetsk served as housing for many Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol a few months ago.
British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons said on her Twitter on Saturday that the strike was part of a pattern of “the worst kind of human rights abuses”. “Olenivka needs to be investigated. It looks like part of an increasingly worrying pattern of the worst kind of human rights abuses and possible war crimes being committed with impunity in occupied eastern Ukraine,” the ambassador tweeted.
Zelenskyi said the attack was “a premeditated war crime by the Russians”.
Ukrainian intelligence said the attacks were carried out by the Russian mercenary group Wagner and were not coordinated with the Russian Defense Ministry. CNN cannot independently verify Ukraine’s military intelligence allegations.
Russia blames Ukraine for the attack.