The death toll from a Russian missile strike on a nine-story apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 25 on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported, even as rescue workers attempted to pull more survivors from the wreckage.
Workers used a crane to try to reach people trapped on the top floors of the 1,700-resident building, some of whom signaled for help with lights on their cell phones.
"Search and rescue operations and the dismantling of dangerous structural elements continue. Around the clock. We continue to fight for every life," the Ukrainian leader said.
Zelenskyy said 73 people were wounded in the attack Saturday and 39 had been rescued as of Sunday afternoon.
Gen. Valerii Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said Russia fired 33 cruise missiles on Saturday, 21 of which were shot down. The air force command said the missile that hit the apartment building was a Kh-22 launched from Russia's Kursk region but that Ukraine does not have a system capable of intercepting that type of weapon.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed responsibility for missile strikes across Ukraine but did not mention the attack on the Dnipro residential building. Some of the residents in the building said it had no strategic military value.
"All designated targets have been hit,” the ministry said on Telegram. “The goal of the attack has been achieved." It said missiles were fired "on the military command and control system of Ukraine and related energy facilities.”
Infrastructure was also damaged in the Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Odesa regions, as well as in Kharkiv and Kyiv by the wave of Russian missiles.
Local authorities reported that Ukraine’s air defense downed Russian missiles in Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia, and Ivano-Frankivsk.
The strikes caused emergency blackouts in multiple regions, such as the Kharkiv area and the city of Kharkiv in the northeast — Ukraine's second-largest city. In the western Lviv Oblast, the governor, Maksym Kozytskyi, said there might be interruptions in the power and water supply because of missile damage.
Another energy facility was hit in the western Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, according to Governor Svitlana Onyshchuk.
A few hours after Saturday’s missile strikes, Britain promised to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help repel Russia’s invasion.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said the tanks would be sent in the coming weeks, with about 30 self-propelled AS-90 guns to follow. He said training for Ukrainian troops on how to use the guns and the tanks will begin soon.
The Challenger 2 is Britain’s main battle tank. It is designed to attack other tanks and has been in service since 1994, according to the army.
Britain’s defense ministry said Sunday there is a possibility that Russia will extend the age limit for military conscription from 27 to 30 in time for the Spring 2023 draft, a move that would enable Russian forces to increase their enrollment by at least 30%.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he supports the move, according to the British ministry, which added, “Russian officials are likely sounding out public reactions.” (SJ/VOA)