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Ukraine mourns 16 killed in Russian attack that hit market in east

By Vitalii Hnidyi

KOSTIANTYNIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) - Stunned residents left flowers at a makeshift memorial in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka on Thursday as they mourned the 16 people killed in a Russian attack a day earlier.

Some stopped to stare at the charred remains of shopping kiosks at the central market that were torn apart by a huge explosion which officials said was caused by a Russian missile.

"I personally saw many (wounded) women, 30 years and older," market worker Bohdan Oriekhov, whose hand was bandaged, told Reuters by the market.

"And one man who was brought in on a stretcher – he was hysterical, screamed, and cried: 'Where is my wife? What happened to my wife?'."

A white and pink cuddly toy had been left beside flowers on the pavement, parts of which were still stained with blood.

"Someone with a child came to see the vendor (at a nearby market kiosk). There were three dead bodies: a small child, (the vendor) and her friend," said another market vendor who gave his name only as Volodymyr.

Another witness, Olena Lavryk, lost a friend in the attack and had been nearby at the time of the strike.

"(There was an)...explosion, flames… I had no fear at first. The fear came in 10 minutes," she said. "Our good acquaintance died where I'm standing. She was a young woman, she sold groceries. She died right here behind me."

She said a woman who had been selling cosmetics had also been killed, adding: "She was burning, her clothes were on fire. She also was a young woman."

Ukrainian officials revised the death toll on Thursday to 16, with a further 33 wounded. They had initially said 17 had been killed in the attack, carried out as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the capital, Kyiv.

"Just yesterday we saw the bombing of a market.. A market. For what?" Blinken said on Thursday, the second day of his visit to Ukraine. "

"This is what Ukrainians are living with every day?" he asked.

Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians although it has repeatedly hit cities and towns across Ukraine since its invasion 18 months ago.

(Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi, Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by Tom Balmforth)