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Dozens Dead or Missing After Missile Strike on Ukraine Apartment Building


Rescuers work on a residential building destroyed in a Russian missile strike, in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 15, 2023, amid Russia's invasion of its neighbor.

Families of the missing wait outside the rubble of an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, hoping for good news as rescue workers continue to search for survivors of Saturday's Russian missile strike on the nine-story apartment building.

"My mother hasn't been found yet," Roman Zhuravsky told Agence France-Presse. "But the likelihood, given that five floors collapsed above her..."

Natalia Babachenko, the regional governor's adviser, said 30 people are confirmed dead and more than 30 are in the hospital, including 12 in serious condition, according to Reuters. Between 30 to 40 people could still be trapped under the debris, Babachenko said.

"Search and rescue operations and the dismantling of dangerous structural elements continue around the clock. We continue to fight for every life," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Gen. Valerii Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said Russia fired 33 cruise missiles 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."

An emergency worker carries a wounded woman after a Russian missile destroyed a residential building in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 15, 2023.
An emergency worker carries a wounded woman after a Russian missile destroyed a residential building in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 15, 2023.

Belarus-Russian drills

Ukraine's neighbor to the north, Belarus, is scheduled to begin joint military exercises with Russia Monday, Reuters reports.

Belarus has participated in numerous military exercises with Russia since the conflict began, increasing fears in Ukraine and among its allies that Russia is hoping Belarus will enter the war on its side, despite assurances from Minsk it won't join the fight.

Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarusian Security Council, said in a post on the social media platform Telegram that "the exercise is purely defensive in nature."

He said the drills, which are slated to run until February 1, will involve "aerial reconnaissance, deflecting airstrikes, air cover of important objects and communications."

Britain to send tanks to Ukraine

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.”

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse, Reuters and The Associated Press.