Deaths, blackouts as Russian missiles hit multiple cities in Ukraine | War news Russia-Ukraine

Russia has launched a new barrage of missiles at targets across Ukraine, killing at least 12 people in the east-central city of Dnipro and disrupting power supplies in the Kiev and Kharkiv regions, officials said.

Saturday’s attacks destroyed a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro, leaving an entire part of the building in ruins and spewing smoke into the air. Among the dead was also that of a 15-year-old girl, according to officials.

About 64 others were also injured.

“Tragedy!” said Borys Filatov, mayor of the rocket city on the Dnieper River.

‘I went to the site. … We will go through the rubble all night.

Crime scene photos showed firefighters extinguishing a blaze around the carcasses of some cars in Dnipro. Much of the apartment building was missing, while the exterior of the rest of the building was badly damaged.

Captured residents signaled their location under the rubble with their mobile phone flashlights, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said seven children were among the injured, the youngest aged three.

“The fate of 26 people is still unknown,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was not yet known how many were under the rubble.

“Unfortunately, the death toll is growing every hour,” he said in his nightly speech.

In addition to Dnipro, other cities hit on Saturday included Odessa in the south, Kharkiv in the east, Lviv in the west and the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Civilian infrastructure, including electricity points, was again damaged and power outages were reported.

Emergency shutdowns were in place in “most regions” of Ukraine on Saturday because of the raids, German Energy Minister Galushchenko said.

He warned that the coming days would be “difficult”.

Officials said the Kharkiv region lost power completely and disruptions to electricity and water supplies in Lviv were also possible.

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing massive power outages and disruptions to central heating and running water.

Top military commander Valerii Zaluzhny said Russia fired a total of 33 cruise missiles on Saturday, 21 of which were shot down.

VK promises tanks

Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor, said it had found missile remnants on its territory after the latest Russian raids.

“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine once again has direct consequences for Moldova,” President Maia Sandu tweeted, posting photos of the wreckage.

“We strongly condemn today’s intensified attacks.”

In his nightly speech, Zelensky appealed to the West to supply more weapons to prevent further deaths from what he described as “Russian terror”.

“What is needed for this? The kind of weapons our partners stock and our warriors are used to. The whole world knows what and how to stop those who sow death,” he said.

Saturday’s attack comes as Western powers consider sending heavy weapons to Kiev and ahead of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies in Germany’s Ramstein this Friday, where governments will announce their latest pledges of military support.

The United Kingdom on Saturday became the first Western country to pledge heavy tanks before the war, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying his country will send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Sunak’s office said the British Prime Minister believed that a “long and static war only serves Russia’s interests”.

“British defense and security officials believe a window has opened where Russia is hot on its heels due to supply problems and declining morale,” the statement said. “The Prime Minister therefore encourages allies to deploy their planned support for 2023 as soon as possible to have maximum impact.”

Saturday’s attacks came as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Soledar, a small salt mining town in eastern Ukraine that was the center of a relentless Russian attack for days.

Capturing Soledar, which had a population of 10,000 before the war, could improve the position of Russian forces as they advance on what has been their main target since October, the nearby transport crossroads of Bakhmut.

Russia said on Friday that its troops had taken control of the city, but Ukraine has denied the claim.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from near Soledar, said there was no clear sign of a Ukrainian withdrawal from the city.

“Russia says it has taken full control of Soledar, but the smoke billowing from the impact sites, the explosions of near-constant artillery and heavy machine gun fire suggest otherwise,” he said.

On the streets leading to Soledar, army medics stood intermittently waiting to take the wounded to hospitals away from the front lines, Stratford said. Ukrainian armored personnel carriers were seen carrying troops into the city, while the tree lines were filled with artillery in defensive positions.

A soldier pleaded for better weapons.

“It will be difficult for us to push them back,” he told Al Jazeera. “We will suffer great losses. They move in such numbers that our old guns sometimes overheat as we try to shoot as many as possible.

Turkey on Saturday said it was ready to push for a local ceasefire in Ukraine, warning that neither Moscow nor Kiev had the military resources to “win the war”.

Ibrahim Kalin, foreign policy adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, admitted that it seemed unlikely that the warring parties would be willing to reach an “overarching peace deal” in the coming months.

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