Deaths, blackouts as Russian missiles hit multiple Ukraine cities | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russia launched a new barrage of missiles at targets across Ukraine, killing at least 12 people in the east-central city of Dnipro and disrupting power supplies in Kyiv and Kharkiv regions, officials said.

The attacks on Saturday smashed a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro, reducing an entire section of the building to rubble and sending smoke billowing into the sky. The deaths included that of a 15-year-old girl, according to officials.

About 64 others were also wounded.

“Tragedy!” said Boris Filatov, mayor of the rocket city on the Dnieper River.

“I went to the website. … We’ll be going through the rubble all night.”

Images from the scene showed firefighters putting out fire around the corpses of a number of cars in Dnipro. A large part of the apartment building was missing, while the exterior of the rest of the building was badly damaged.

Trapped residents signaled their location under the debris with their mobile phone torches, according to Ukrainian media.

“They keep sending SMS,” Dnipro deputy mayor Mikhailo Lysenko said in a social media video. “We stop our work every now and then to be quiet and we hear people screaming from under the rubble.”

Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said seven children were among the injured, the youngest three years old.

“The fate of 26 people is still unknown,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it is not yet known how many are under the rubble.

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“Unfortunately, the death toll is increasing every hour,” he said in his nightly address.

Besides Dnipro, other cities hit on Saturday included Odesa in the south, Kharkiv in the east, Lviv in the west and the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Civilian infrastructure, including power stations, was again damaged and power outages were reported.

Emergency blackouts were applied in “most regions” of Ukraine on Saturday because of the attacks, Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

He warned that the coming days would be “difficult”.

Officials said the Kharkiv region had completely lost power and that disruptions to electricity and water supply in Lviv were also possible.

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing widespread blackouts and disruptions to central heating and running water.

Military Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhny said Russia fired a total of 33 cruise missiles on Saturday, of which 21 were shot down.

UK promises tanks

Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor, said it had found missile debris on its territory after the latest Russian strikes.

“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine is directly hitting Moldova again,” President Maia Sandu tweeted, posting photos of the wreckage.

“We strongly condemn today’s intensified attacks.”

In his overnight speech, Zelenskyy appealed to the West to supply more weapons to prevent further deaths from what he described as “Russian terror”.

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“What does it take for this? The kind of weapons that our partners have in stock and that our soldiers have been waiting for. The whole world knows what and how to stop those who sow death,” he said.

Saturday’s attack comes as Western powers consider sending heavy weaponry to Kyiv and ahead of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies in Ramstein in Germany next Friday, where governments will announce their latest pledges of military support.

The United Kingdom on Saturday became the first Western country to pledge heavy tanks for the war effort, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying his country would send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Sunak’s office said the British prime minister believes “a long and stagnant war only serves Russia’s interests”.

“UK defense and security officials believe a window has opened where Russia is on the back foot due to resupply issues and low morale,” the statement said. “The Prime Minister is therefore urging allies to deploy their planned support for 2023 as soon as possible to have maximum impact.”

Saturday’s attacks took place as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Soledar, a small salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine that has been the focus of a relentless Russian attack for days.

Capturing Soledar, which had a pre-war population of 10,000, could improve the position of Russian forces as they push towards what has been their main objective since October, the nearby transport junctions of Bakhmut.

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Russia said on Friday that its forces had taken control of the city, but Ukraine denied the claim.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from near Soledar, said there was no obvious sign of a Ukrainian withdrawal from the city.

“Russia says it has taken full control of Soledar, but the smoke rising from impact sites, the bursts of near-constant artillery and heavy machine-gun fire suggest otherwise,” he said.

On streets leading to Soledar, army medics waited at intervals to take the wounded to hospitals away from the front line, Stratford said. Ukrainian armored personnel carriers were seen carrying soldiers towards the city, while the tree lines were packed with artillery in defensive positions.

One soldier appealed for better weapons.

“It will be difficult for us to push them back,” he told Al Jazeera. “We will suffer great losses. They move around so much that sometimes our old guns overheat as we try to shoot as many as possible.”

Turkey said on Saturday it was ready to push for local ceasefires in Ukraine and warned that neither Moscow nor Kyiv had the military resources to “win the war”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, admitted it seemed unlikely the warring sides were ready to strike a “general peace deal” in the coming months.


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