Death Toll At 40 From Russian Missile Strike On Ukraine Apartment Building


Ukrainian officials said Monday the death toll from a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro had risen to at least 40, with rescue crews still searching the rubble for any survivors. 

Dnipropetrovsk regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on social media said the attack had injured 75 people and that the fate of 30 others was unknown. Thirty-nine have been rescued. 

The missile strike took place Saturday with what Ukraine’s air force command said was a Kh-22 missile launched from Russia’s Kursk region. Military officials said Ukrainian forces shot down 21 of 33 total missiles Russia fired that day, but that Ukraine does not have a system capable of intercepting the Kh-22. 

European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Russian strike and others like it on civilian targets “inhumane aggression.” 

“There will be no impunity for these crimes,” he said in a tweet on Sunday. Russian forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets since invading Ukraine in February. 

Russian officials have often denied doing so, including again Monday as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian forces “do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure, they strike military targets.” Peskov said what happened in Dnipro was caused by Ukrainian air defenses. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that he was thankful for words of support from around the world after the attack, adding that it is “very important that normal people unite in response to terror.” 

He faulted those in Russia “who even now could not utter even a few words of condemnation.” 

“Evil is very sensitive to cowardice,” Zelenskyy said. “Evil always remembers those who fear it or try to bargain with it. And when it comes after you, there will be no one to protect you.” 

On Monday, fierce fighting continued to rage in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, where military analysts have said both sides are likely suffering heavy troop casualties in a standoff. 

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, said it believes the Kremlin is taking steps to turn its Ukraine invasion into “a major conventional war” after months of embarrassing military reversals. 

“The Kremlin is likely preparing to conduct a decisive strategic action in the next six months intended to regain the initiative and end Ukraine’s current string of operational successes,” the institute’s report said. 

It noted reports indicating the Russian military command was in “serious preparations” for an expanded mobilization effort, conserving mobilized personnel for future use, while seeking to boost military industrial production and reshuffling its command structure. 
That means Ukraine’s Western allies “will need to continue supporting Ukraine in the long run,” the think tank said. 

Belarus-Russian drills 

Ukraine’s neighbor to the north, Belarus, began joint military exercises with Russia on Monday. 

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said the drills would run until February 1 and utilize all of the country’s military airfields. 

Areas of training include aerial reconnaissance, border patrols, tactical air assault landing and evacuation of the wounded, the ministry said. 

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 the Security Council of Belarus, said in a post on the social media platform Telegram that “the exercise is purely defensive in nature.” 

Russia held military exercises in Belarus just before sending tens of thousands of those troops across the border into Ukraine at the start of its invasion.


The VOA is the Voice of America

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *