Ukrainian authorities say there is little hope of rescuing any more survivors from the rubble of a collapsed apartment block in the city of Dnipro a day after it was hit by Russian missiles, with dozens of people expected to have been killed.
The regional governor’s adviser, Natalia Babachenko, said 30 people were confirmed dead so far and more than 30 were in hospital, including 12 in serious condition. Between 30 and 40 people could still be trapped under debris, she said.
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Emergency workers said they had heard people screaming for help from underneath the rubble of the nine-storey apartment block in the city in east-central Ukraine. The workers used moments of silence to direct their rescue efforts, but freezing temperatures added to rescue concerns.
“The chances of saving people now are minimal,” Dnipro’s Mayor Borys Filatov told the news agency Reuters. “I think the number of dead will be in the dozens.”
Filatov added that two stairwells and dozens of flats were destroyed.
“Some people were pulled out alive; some were badly injured,” Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler said, adding that “among the dead was a 15-year-old girl”.
Russia fired two waves of missiles at Ukraine on Saturday, attacking targets across the country including the capital, Kyiv, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, as fighting raged on the battlefield in the eastern towns of Soledar and Bakhmut.
Moscow, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022, has been pounding the country’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing sweeping blackouts and disruptions to central heating and running water.
In a statement on Sunday about its previous day of strikes, the Russian defence ministry did not mention Dnipro as a specific target.
“All assigned objects were hit. The targets of the strike have been achieved,” it said.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in the war.
The Dnipro apartment block was struck by a Russian Kh-22 missile, according to Ukraine’s air force, which said the missile is known to be inaccurate. Ukraine also lacks the air defences to shoot such missiles down.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern command said Russia had fired only half of the cruise missiles it had deployed to the Black Sea during Saturday’s attacks.
“This indicates that they still have certain plans,” said the spokesperson, Natalia Humeniuk. “We must understand that they can still be used.”