The body of a man in slippers lies in a courtyard in the center of Slovyansk, a city in eastern Ukraine under pressure from the Russian army. In the morning, a rocket gutted a residential building there.
Police lift the corpse of a man named Igor, according to his neighbors, before loading it into a van bound for the morgue, leaving only a trail of blood on the ground.
Sloviansk Mayor Vadim Lyakh arrived on the scene on Monday immediately after the strike, around 8:30 am (05:30 GMT), at the same time as emergency services.
“We’re trying to establish (the balance sheet) but there is at least one dead and three injured,” he told AFP as residents, mostly elderly people, clean up broken glass around.
According to police, the victims received shrapnel. Tamara, an 84-year-old resident, said one of her neighbors was hospitalized with a chest injury.
“Not even at night, but in broad daylight. How much longer can we take this?” – asks the policeman with his colleague.
Slovyansk is facing increased shelling by Russian troops, whose positions are several kilometers away. With the onset of Moscow troops from the north, the city lost its water and gas supply.
Looking at its broken windows and walls strewn with fragments, Tatyana Levchenko laments: “How can I live now? All rooms are damaged, look!”.
“It’s such a pain for us,” the 67-year-old woman continues, pointing to her cat hiding under the sofa and her hamster still in the cage. Her daughter and grandchildren have left and live in Lvov, in western Ukraine, relatively untouched by the bombings.
But for Tatyana, it is out of the question to leave her city. “Where should I go? All Ukraine under fire! We have nowhere to hide,” she says, before adding, “Things are bad, very bad. Everyone cried out all their tears. I have no more strength”.
– Shards and broken glass –
In front of a neighboring house, Natalya Petrova came out in a dressing gown to take stock. When the strike started, she was sleeping while her husband was at work.
Her house in the village has already been damaged by the fighting, and today her apartment was also damaged.
“We no longer have housing either here or there,” she notes.
There are no visible military installations nearby.
Cluster bombs, weapons that disperse large areas indiscriminately, appear to have been used in a series of attacks on Sloviansk on Monday night and morning.
Mayor Vadym Lyakh assured on Facebook that there are no legitimate targets in the area and that Moscow is waging war against civilians in Ukraine. He urged his constituents to leave the city.
What appears to be the remains of a Hurricane missile was buried in the ground in a courtyard about 100 meters from where the body was found.
“We were rescued, it’s a miracle,” said a woman in jeans and a red T-shirt who was cleaning up broken glass, without giving her name.
During the night, cluster bombs also hit a street on the outskirts of the city, causing similar damage.
Residents said they often heard the sound of drones flying overhead, but noted that the nearby military base was no longer in use.
The car of Alexander, a 39-year-old market worker, was riddled with shrapnel. One of his dogs was injured.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, launched in late February, has a déjà vu look for the residents of Slovyansk, the city of Slovyansk that became the scene of fierce fighting between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists in 2014.
On Alexander’s metal door, some of the strikes date back eight years, while others are more recent.
“I didn’t change the door. I didn’t think it was worth it,” he says.