Deaths from strike on Ukraine apartment building rise to 25
Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2023 | 9:32 am
Updated 0 milliseconds ago
DNIPRO, Ukraine (AP) – The death toll from a Russian rocket attack on an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 25 on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced as rescue workers scrambled to pull out survivors. from the ruins.
Emergency crews worked through the cold night at the collapsed high-rise apartment building, the site of the worst casualties from a widespread Russian barrage on Saturday.
The strikes, which also targeted the capital Kiev and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, ended a two-week lull in airstrikes that Russia has launched against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and urban centers almost weekly since October.
Russia launched 33 cruise missiles on Saturday, of which 21 were shot down, according to General Valerii Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces. The missile that hit the apartment building was a Kh-22 fired from Russia’s Kursk region, according to the army’s air force command, adding that Ukraine does not have a system capable of intercepting that type of weapon.
In Dnipro, workers used a crane as they tried to rescue people trapped on the upper floors of an apartment tower where about 1,700 lived. Some residents signaled for help with lights on their cellphones.
Zelenskyy reported that at least 73 people were injured and 39 people had been rescued as of Sunday afternoon. The city government in Dnipro said 43 people were reported missing.
“Search and rescue operations and dismantling of dangerous structural elements continue. About an hour. We continue to fight for every life,” said the Ukrainian leader.
Ivan Garnuk was in his apartment when the building was hit and said he felt lucky to have survived. He described his shock that the Russians would strike a residential building with no strategic value.
“There are no military facilities here. There is nothing here,” he said. “There is no air defense, there are no military bases here. It just hit civilians, innocent people.”
Residents of Dnipro joined rescue workers at the scene to help clear the wreckage. Others brought food and warm clothes to those who had lost their homes.
“This is definitely terrorism and all this is just not humane,” said one local, Artem Myzychenko, as he cleared the rubble.
Claiming responsibility for the rocket attacks across Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday it had achieved its goal.
“All the defined targets have been hit. The goal of the attack has been achieved,” the ministry said in a statement posted on Telegram. He said the missiles were fired “at Ukraine’s military command and control system and energy-related facilities,” and did not mention the attack on the Dnipro apartment building.
On Sunday, Russian forces attacked a residential area in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said in a Telegram post. According to preliminary information, two people were injured.
Russia’s renewed airstrikes came as fierce fighting flared in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, where the Russian military has claimed control of the small salt mining town of Soledar, but Ukraine says its troops are still fighting.
If Russian forces gain full control of Soledar, it will allow them to get closer to Bakhmut’s largest city. The battle for Bakhmut has lasted for months, causing significant casualties on both sides.
With the war approaching its 11-month mark, Britain announced it would deliver tanks to Ukraine, its first donation of such heavy weaponry. Although the promise of 14 Challenger 2 tanks seemed modest, Ukrainian officials expect it to encourage other Western countries to supply more tanks.
“The dispatch of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine is the start of a shift in the UK’s support,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said in a statement late Saturday. “A squadron of 14 tanks will enter the country in the coming weeks after the Prime Minister told President Zelenskyy that the UK will provide additional support to help Ukraine’s ground war. Around 30 AS90s, which are large, self-propelled guns , operated by five shooters, are expected to follow.”
Sunak hopes other Western allies will follow suit as part of a coordinated international effort to boost support for Ukraine ahead of the one-year anniversary of the invasion next month, according to officials.
The UK’s defense secretary plans to travel to Estonia and Germany this week to work with NATO allies, and the foreign secretary is scheduled to visit the US and Canada to discuss closer coordination.
Meldrum reported from Kiev. Sylvia Hui in London contributed reporting.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine