A missile that hit an apartment building in Ukraine’s eastern city of Dnipro on Saturday has thus far killed 29 people, with some 40 others still unaccounted for, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Sunday.
Reznichenko said on his Telegram account that a search operation, ongoing for over 24 hours, has involved 550 people. They included rescuers, police officers, doctors and volunteers.
On Sunday, a 27-year-old woman was pulled out from under the rubble. She suffered from severe hypothermia and was taken to a hospital’s intensive care unit for treatment, Reznichenko said.
The governor added that 39 residents of the struck building were rescued. Of the 73 people injured during the strike, 30 were hospitalized, including 12 with serious injuries.
Over 70 apartments were destroyed by the strike, which was carried out using a Russian Kh-22 missile, the Ukrainian armed force said. The missile is known to be inaccurate and Ukrainian forces lack the necessary air defense to shoot it down.
Emergency workers reported hearing the screams of people under piles of debris from the building. Rescuers were challenged even more by the freezing temperatures, which were around 1 degree Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit).
“The chances of saving people now are minimal,” Dnipro’s Mayor Borys Filatov told Reuters news agency. “I think the number of dead will be in the dozens.”
Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post that those killed included one child and those injured included 13 more.
“My condolences to all the families and friends of the victims,” he wrote.
On Saturday, Russia conducted strikes also on the southern city of Odesa, the eastern city of Kharkiv and the western city of Lviv, alongside the capital, Kyiv. The strikes damaged civilian infrastructure including electricity sites and were the first major missile attacks in the new year, the German DPA news agency said.
Here are other updates concerning the war in Ukraine on January 15:
NATO chief says ‘more arms deliveries’ to Ukraine in near future
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects Western allies to supply Ukraine with more heavy weaponry soon, he told a German daily on Sunday.
Stoltenberg’s interview came one day after Britain announced it was supplying Ukraine with tanks and artillery systems, which Ukraine has long been asking for. This makes the UK the first country to pledge support with battle tanks to Kyiv.
The fresh pledge has since increased the pressure on Berlin to follow suit.
When asked about whether he believes Germany should also offer a similar move, Stoltenberg told the business Handelsblatt newspaper that “it is important that we provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to win” during what he described as a “decisive phase of the war.”
Earlier on Sunday, Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin, Oleksii Makeiev, urged the German government to provide his country with Leopard 2 battle tanks quickly.
“German weapons, German tanks are essential for survival,” he told Germany’s dpa news agency. “We have very little time for discussions. And we expect our allies to understand that and act appropriately.”
Makeiev’s call also comes only days before a meeting of defense ministers from Ukraine’s Western allies at the US Ramstein air base in western Germany to discuss further military support for the fight against Russia.
Poland and Finland were prepared to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks as part of a European alliance.
A German government spokesperson, however, said on Friday it had yet to receive an official request from the countries to export the tanks to Ukraine. They’ll need Germany’s permission or risk violating re-export rules.
Meanwhile, German arms maker Rheinmetall told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the earliest it could deliver refurbished Leopard battle tanks from its stock is 2024, “even if the decision is made tomorrow.”
Ammunition blast near Russian border with Ukraine kills 3
An ammunition explosion rocked Russia’s western Belgorod region, near the Ukrainian border, killing three soldiers and injuring 16.
The blast was due to the “careless” handling of a grenade at a cultural center that was repurposed for storing ammunition for the armed forces, Russian media said on Sunday.
The explosion caused a fire that reportedly resulted in the hospitalization of sixteen soldiers.
Eight more service personnel were still missing as of Sunday evening.
Some Russian media reports suggested that the soldiers impacted by the explosion were conscripts mobilized to fight in Ukraine.
The Belgorod region lies just some 80 kilometers north of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian city that has seen intensified Russian strikes in recent days.
Putin praises Russian troops for ‘capturing Soledar’
Russian President Vladimir Putin sang Russian armed forces praises for their purported capture of the Ukrainian town of Soledar, while Ukraine insists the fight for the eastern town’s control remains ongoing.
Putin spoke in an interview that was broadcast on Sunday, expressing hope that Russian soldiers would “please us more than once again.”
“There is a positive dynamic, everything is developing according to plans,” the Russian president was quoted as saying.
The Russian Defense Ministry had argued that its capture of the town would allow its troops to cut off Ukrainian forces from the nearby, much larger town of Bakhmut.
The Kremlin has made capturing the industrial Donetsk region its primary objective after nearly one year of fighting, having been forced to abandon more ambitious goals like seizing the capital, Kyiv, and ousting Ukraine’s government.
More on the war in Ukraine
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised on Saturday to provide tanks and artillery systems to Ukraine, as Russian missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital and other cities intensify.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces had taken control of the Ukrainian salt-mining town of Soledar in Donetsk region on Thursday, while Ukraine insisted that the battle remained ongoing.
rmt/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)