(CTN NEWS) – DNIPRO, Ukraine – On Monday, the Ukrainian emergency crews sifted through rubble from the Dnipro apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile, placing bodies in black bags and carrying them gingerly across steep piles of rubble.
The death toll from Saturday’s strike has risen to 40, and 30 people are still missing. Under a gray sky, cranes swung across jagged gaps in a row of residential towers as their engines growled.
Residents of one of Ukraine’s largest cities watched in silence.
Since the missile strike, search and rescue crews have worked nonstop to locate victims and survivors in the wreckage of the multistory building. 39 people have been rescued, and at least 75 have been injured, according to the regional administration.
According to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project, it was among the deadliest attacks on Ukrainian civilians since before the summer.
There were no military facilities in the apartment tower, according to residents.
The missile struck Oleksander Anyskevych’s apartment.
“Boom – that’s it.” While visiting his wrecked apartment on Monday, Anyskevych said he saw that he and his family were alive.
The Associated Press reported that he knew people who died under the rubble. His son’s classmate lost her parents. Residents of Dnipro brought flowers, candles, and toys to the ruins. “We could all be in that place,” said Iryna Skrypnyk, a resident.
Another Russian missile attack hit Ukrainian cities yesterday. Russia’s inhumane aggression directly targets civilians, include children.
There will be no impunity for these crimes.
The EU will continue supporting Ukraine, for as long as it takes. #Dnipro
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) January 15, 2023
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Russian military does not target residential buildings, and Ukrainian air defenses hit the Dnipro building.
An attack on the building came amid a wider barrage of Russian cruise missiles across Ukraine.
In a statement Sunday, the Ukrainian military said it could not intercept the type of Russian missile that struck the Dnipro residential building.
Both sides likely suffer heavy troop casualties in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, where fierce fighting continued Monday. It was not possible to verify developments independently.
Donbas is an expansive industrial region bordering Russia that Russian President Vladimir Putin identified as a focus of the war from the beginning. Since 2014, Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv’s forces.
Belarus, which bordered Ukraine and served as a staging ground for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, began a joint air exercise Monday.
According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the drills will last until Feb. 1. Warplanes from Russia are participating in the exercises.
After months of embarrassment, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported signs that the Kremlin is preparing to turn its Ukraine invasion into “a major conventional war.”
What Moscow calls “a special military operation” was meant to capture Kyiv within weeks and install a Kremlin-friendly regime, but Russian forces withdrew. A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive followed in recent months before winter slowed military progress.
In a report published late Sunday, the Institute for the Study of War said the Kremlin was likely preparing a decisive strategic action in the next six months to regain the initiative.
It noted reports indicating the Russian military command was preparing an expanded mobilization effort, preserving mobilized personnel for future use and reorganizing its command structure while increasing military industrial production.
According to the think tank, Ukraine’s Western allies “must continue to support Ukraine in the long run.”
In recent days, NATO member nations have sought to reassure Ukraine that they will remain committed. On Sunday, the U.S. military’s new, expanded combat training of Ukrainian forces began in Germany with a pledge from the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Lech Kaczynski urged the German government to supply Kyiv with a wide range of weapons and expressed hope that Berlin would soon approve the transfer of battle tanks.
On Monday, there were also the following developments:
— In the last 24 hours, Russian forces shelled Kherson and the Kherson region, killing three people and wounding 14, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said.
The shelling damaged a hospital, a children’s disability center, a shipyard, critical infrastructure, and apartment buildings in Kherson.
— According to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Russian forces struck the city of Zaporizhzhia, damaging industrial infrastructure and wounding five people, including two children.
— According to Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed head of Sevastopol, Russian air defenses downed 10 drones Monday over the Black Sea near Sevastopol.
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