Ukraine: Death toll rises from Russian missile attack on Dnipro | Ukraine

The death toll from the Russian missile attack on an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Saturday as rescuers continued to search the mound of concrete in hopes of finding survivors.

According to local authorities, at least 30 people are still missing and another 75 were injured after the building split in two and the center lay in rubble.

One of the dead was boxing coach Mykhailo Korenovskyi, the only member of his family home at the time. A friend of the family posted a video of the family celebrating a child’s birthday in their apartment next to a post-attack photo in the kitchen, which is missing an entire wall.

According to a CNN report, the latest rescue took place shortly after midnight on Saturday. It took nine hours to reach the person and they were severely hypothermic.

Andriy Ivanyutin, owner of one of the apartments destroyed in the attack, said his tenants included a couple fleeing fighting in eastern Donetsk province, their children and one of their mothers. “The family goes to church on Sunday, but this time they went on Saturday…luckily they weren’t home…but their mother was,” said Ivanyutin. He said the mother was still missing.

Among the survivors were a man and woman who had fled Kherson to Dnipro. The man used a flashlight to attract the attention of emergency responders while applying pressure to his wife’s wounds.

The attack has sparked a wave of support from Dnipro residents. The nearby village of Voloske, outside the city of Dnipro, has said it is willing to take in homeless people “for as long as it takes”, offering to pay taxi fares on arrival.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar said an X-22 Russian anti-ship missile hit the building. With a length of about 11 meters, a diameter of almost 1 meter and a weight of 5,600 kg, the X-22 missile is a ballistic missile with an arc-like trajectory.

Ukraine’s air defense forces said in a statement after the Dnipro attack that they do not have the equipment to detect or shoot down ballistic missiles.

After months of pleas from the Ukrainians, the US agreed to provide the powerful Patriot air defense systems which, while not foolproof, are capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. The US was hesitant to do so, fearing Russia would view the delivery as an escalation. It will also take time for Ukrainian soldiers to learn how to use the systems.

Ukrainian officials acknowledged little hope of finding anyone alive in the rubble, but the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said rescue efforts in the central Ukrainian city will continue “as long as there is even the slightest chance of saving lives”.

Zelenskiy also thanked public figures who spoke out about the attack and “did not remain indifferent”.

Sweden, holder of the EU presidency, described the attack as a war crime on Monday.

“The Swedish government condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s continued systematic attacks against civilians … in Ukraine, including Saturday’s rocket attack on an apartment building in Dnipro,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters, calling it a ” gruesome attack”.

“Deliberate attacks on civilians are war crimes. Those responsible will be held accountable,” he said at a joint press conference in Stockholm with European Council President Charles Michel.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the attack and has pointed to an unsubstantiated theory circulating on social media that Ukrainian air defense systems had caused the damage.

“The Russian armed forces are not attacking residential buildings or social infrastructure. They are attacking military targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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