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

Russia fired new missiles at targets across Ukraine, killing at least 12 people in the central-eastern city of Dnipro and knocking out power in Kyiv and Kharkiv regions, officials said.

Saturday’s attacks destroyed a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro, reducing the entire building to rubble and sending smoke billowing into the sky. Officials said a 15-year-old girl was among the dead.

Another 64 people were injured.

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

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

Pictures taken from the scene show firefighters putting out flames around the wreckage of some cars in Dnipro. A large part of the apartment block was lost and the exterior of the rest of the building was badly damaged.

According to the Ukrainian media, the detained residents indicated that they were under the rubble with the lights of their mobile phones.

According to the governor of the region Valentyn Reznichenko, among the injured are seven children, the youngest of whom is 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 people are under the rubble.

“Unfortunately, the death toll is increasing every hour,” he said in his late night message.

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Apart from 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 lines, was again damaged and power was cut.

Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said that “many areas” of Ukraine had an emergency power outage due to the raids on Saturday.

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

Officials said Kharkiv region had lost power completely, and Lviv may also experience power and water outages.

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, shutting off electricity, cutting off central heating and running water.

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

Britain guarantees the tanks

Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor, Moldova, said it had found missile remnants on its territory following the latest Russian raids.

“Russia’s merciless war against Ukraine has again directly affected Moldova,” President Maia Sandu wrote on Twitter, posting pictures of the plane wreckage.

“We strongly condemn today’s intensified attacks.”

In a late-night speech, Zelensky called on the West to supply more weapons to prevent further deaths from what he called “Russian terror”.

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“What does it take?” The type of weapons in the warehouses of our partners and expected by our soldiers. “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 weapons to Kiev and ahead of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies next Friday in Ramstein, Germany, as governments announce their latest pledge of military support.

The United Kingdom became the first Western country to pledge heavy tanks for the war on Saturday, 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 believed “a long and sustained war would only serve Russia’s interests.”

“UK defense and security officials believe a window has opened, which was delayed by Russian supply issues and declining morale,” the report said. “That’s why the Prime Minister is calling on Allies to implement the support planned for 2023 as soon as possible for maximum impact.”

Saturday’s attacks come as Ukrainian and Russian forces battle for control of Soledar, a small salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine.

The capture of Soledar, a pre-war population of 10,000, could improve the situation for Russian troops as they push towards the nearby traffic junction of Bakhmut, their main target since October.

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

According to Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford from Soledar, there are no clear signs of Ukraine’s withdrawal from the city.

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

On the streets leading to Soledar, Army medics waited to transport the wounded to hospitals far from the front lines, Stratford said. Ukrainian armored personnel carriers were carrying troops into the city, and the trees were full of artillery in defensive positions.

A soldier asked for a better weapon.

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

Turkey said on Saturday it was ready to demand a local ceasefire in Ukraine and warned that neither Moscow nor Kiev had the military capabilities to “win the war”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, admitted that the warring parties are unlikely to be ready to reach a “comprehensive peace agreement” in the coming months.


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