A school and cultural centre had been hit by HIMARS missiles in Donetsk (File)
A Russian actress has been killed in a Ukrainian attack while performing for Russian troops in a Russian-controlled area of eastern Ukraine, according to her theatre. The Russian theatre where actress Polina Menshikh, 40, worked said she had been killed while performing on stage in the Donbas region.
Reuters could not verify details of the incident but military officials on both sides confirmed there had been a Ukrainian attack in the area on Nov. 19.
A Russian military investigator quoted by Russian state television said a school and cultural centre had been hit by HIMARS missiles in a village in the Donetsk region referred to as Kumachovo and known by Ukrainians as Kumachove, 60 km (37 miles) from the front line.
The unidentified investigator said one civilian, of whom he gave no further details, had been killed but made no mention of military casualties. The Russian defence ministry declined comment and has mentioned no casualties from the attack.
Ukrainian commanders said their forces had struck what they said was a Russian military award ceremony, targeting Russia's 810th Separate Naval Infantry Brigade.
Robert Brovdi, a Ukrainian military commander, said in a post on social media that 25 people had been killed in the strike and more than 100 wounded.
Unverified video footage on pro-Russian Telegram channels showed soldiers watching Menshikh singing on stage with a guitar on the day the Russian military celebrates their missile and artillery forces.
Mid-song, the building is suddenly rocked by a blast and windows can be heard shattering before the lights go out and someone is caught on camera using an expletive.
Ukraine's Brovdi said the attack was "revenge for the 128th", a reference to a Russian strike this month on soldiers from Ukraine's 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade in which the brigade said 19 of it soldiers were killed.
Commenting on the attack on Kumachovo, some pro-Russian bloggers expressed anger that so many soldiers had been allowed to congregate within range of Ukrainian missiles.
"It seems that very wise people thought and decided that as the concert was 60 km from the front line, then nothing could reach it - as if the enemy has never had long-range missiles that can strike the rear," said the influential Rybar Telegram channel.
Russian cultural leaders have been urged to visit areas near the front line to show support for soldiers fighting in Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin sent in troops in February 2022.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)