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Ukraine updates: 30 killed in Russian Dnipro strike

January 15, 2023

The strike destroyed an apartment building in the eastern city of Dnipro. Meanwhile, three people were killed in an ammunition explosion in a Russian region bordering Ukraine. DW has the latest.

mergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.
The nine-storey building was struck by a Russian missile on SaturdayImage: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP/picture alliance

A missile that hit an apartment building in Ukraine's eastern city of Dnipro on Saturday has thus far killed 30 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 forces 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 the Reuters news agency. "I think the number of dead will be in the dozens."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday condemned the Russian people's "cowardly silence" as the toll for the missile strike on a tower block in the eastern city of Dnipro rose.

Zelenskyy noted in his evening address that Ukraine had received messages of sympathy from around the world, then switching to Russian, he said he wanted to address those Russians "who even now could not utter a few words of condemnation of this terror...

"Your cowardly silence, your attempt to 'wait out' what is happening, will only end with the fact that one day these same terrorists will come for you," Zelensky said.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post that there was a child among those killed and 13 children among the injured.

"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:

Joint air force drills with Russia 'defensive' in nature: Belarus

Belarus has said that its air force drills with Russia — which are scheduled to begin on Monday — are defensive in nature to prepare for possible combat missions.

"The exercise is purely defensive in nature," first deputy state secretary of Belarusian Security Council Pavel Muraveyko said, according to a post on the Belarusian defense ministry's Telegram app on Sunday.

The  two-week joint maneuver — that ends on  February 1 — includes training for "aerial reconnaissance, deflecting air strikes, air cover of important objects and communications", Muraveyko said.

The exercises come amid concerns that Moscow is pushing Minsk to join the war in Ukraine.

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.

British Army FV4034 Challenger 2 battle tanks are seen during the North Atlantic Treaty Ogranization NATO military exercise 'Dragon-15'.
Britain's pledge makes it the first country to supply Kyiv with heavy tanksImage: Tomasz Waszczuk/PAP/epa/dpa/picture alliance

"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."

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and and Russia's Chief of General Staff and First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov (L) arrive for a military exercise at the "Telemba" training area.
The Russian president has praised the armed forces for the purported capture of SoledarImage: Alexei Nikolsky/dpa/picture alliance

"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.

Ukraine rejects Russia's claim it has seized Soledar

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)