Mother and daughter walk together before Russian missile strike
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Olena Zelenska urged others to “look at her alive, please” after images were released from the scene of the missile attack showing her upturned pram surrounded by blood. The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remembered little Liza fondly from a meeting at Christmas.
As the invading Russian forces reach new lows in their civilian onslaught, Putin’s missiles rained down on Vinnytsia, to the south-west of the capital, Kyiv.
The town sits far to the West of the Dnipro river, hundreds of miles from the front line. The projectiles hit an office building and a block of flats.
Ukrainian officials put the death toll at 23, including three children – one of whom was Liza.
According to the latest figures, 115 people have been injured by the attack, of which 64 have been hospitalised.
Five people are said to be in a critical condition, and a further 34 are in a serious condition. One of those fighting for their life is Liza’s mum.
Rescuers are still searching for 42 people who remain unaccounted for.
Mr Zelensky responded to the indiscriminate attack by calling it “an open act of terrorism”.
Footage from the aftermath of the attack showed the devastation that the Russian missiles had left. Emergency responders and volunteers were shown pulling the injured and dead from the wreckage.
One image, released by the Ukrainian State Emergency Services, shows a pram on its side, covered in blankets, surrounded by blood and body parts.
Reacting to the distressing image, Ms Zelenska wrote: “We were horrified to see a photo of an overturned baby carriage from Vinnytsia.
“And then, reading the news, I realised that I knew this girl. Knew… I won’t write all the words now that I would really like to those who killed her. I will write about Lisa.”
Recalling a meeting she had with disabled Ukrainian children, in which she painted giant baubles with the kids, Ms Zelenska continued: “We met while recording a video for the Christmas holidays.
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“The little brawler managed to paint not only herself, her holiday dress, but also all the other children, me, the cameramen and the director with paints in half an hour.
“Look at her alive, please. I cry with her loved ones.”
Following the attack, Ukrainian media released video footage of Liza walking happily along the street with her mother, just an hour and a half before the missile hit.
The youngster had been returning from a speech therapy session, Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communications said.
The video – believed to be taken at around 9.38am on Thursday morning – showed Liza as she was energetically pushing her buggy down the street as she spoke to her mother.
Speaking to CBS News last night, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, echoed Mr Zelensky’s remarks.
He suggested the strike was “the next proof that we have again a war not with a normal state, but we have a war with a state of terrorists”.
Mr Reznikov added: “They are using their weapons against civilian people, against civilian facilities. You saw the Kremenchuk tragedy; you saw the atrocities in Bucha, Irpin – and again you saw it in Vinnytsia.”
Russia has yet to make a public statement about the attack. However, Margarita Simonyan, state broadcaster RT chief, claimed the town was housing “Nazis”.
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