- Five people killed in nine-storey block – Kyiv officials
- At least 60 injured when part of building was reduced to rubble
- Russian missiles again hit energy facilities across the country
- Zelenskiy calls for more weapons to fight Russia
KYIV, Jan. 14 (Reuters) – Russia unleashed a major rocket attack on Ukraine on Saturday, destroying a nine-story apartment building in the city of Dnipro, killing at least five people and hitting vital energy supplies, officials said.
Ukraine’s energy minister said the coming days will be “difficult” as months of Russian bombing of the power grid threaten supplies of electricity, running water and central heating at the height of winter.
In the east-central city of Dnipro, 20 people have been rescued from an apartment building where an entire part of the building was in ruins, sending smoke into the air, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office said.
“Tragedy. I went to the site… We will go through the rubble all night,” said Borys Filatov, mayor of the rocket-making city on the Dnipro River.
Five people were killed and at least 60 people, including 12 children, were also injured in the attack, with more people still trapped under the rubble, the regional governor said.
Another person was killed and one injured in the steel-producing town of Kryviy Rih, where six houses were damaged in the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said.
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 that our partners have in stock and that 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 main battle tanks 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.
On the front lines in the east, Ukraine said its forces were battling for control of the small town of Soledar, where Russia has sacrificed large numbers of troops and resources to try to make an advance after months of setbacks.
In Dnipro, photos showed firefighters extinguishing a fire around the carcasses of some cars. Much of the apartment building was missing. The exterior of the rest of the building was badly damaged. The wounded were taken off on stretchers.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine last February, has been targeting its energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October. Ukraine has shot down 25 of Russia’s 38 missiles of various types, the air force said.
Rockets hit critical infrastructure facilities in the eastern region of Kharkiv and the western region of Lviv, officials said. The Kharkiv region lost power completely and disruptions to electricity and water supplies in Lviv were also possible, officials said.
Moldova’s interior ministry said missile remnants had been found in the north of the country near the border with Ukraine following the airstrikes.
Saturday’s attack came hours after a small-scale rocket attack hit critical infrastructure in Kiev and the eastern city of Kharkiv.
The first strike was unusual in that missiles hit their targets before the air raid siren sounded. No one was injured at the time, but rocket debris set fire to an area and damaged homes outside the capital, officials said.
DTEK, the largest private electricity company, has implemented emergency shutdowns in several regions.
Residential infrastructure was also affected in the village of Kopyliv outside the capital. The windows and roofs of 18 private houses were shattered or damaged by the blast, said Oleksiy Kuleba, the regional governor.
Commenting on the initial strike, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said Russia’s missiles were likely fired along a high, looped ballistic trajectory from the north, which would explain why the air raid siren did not sound.
Ukraine is unable to identify and shoot down ballistic missiles, he told the Ukrainska Pravda online outlet.
ROCKETS HIT KHARKIV
In northeastern Ukraine, two S-300 missiles hit the city of Kharkiv near the Russian border early Saturday, according to regional governor Oleg Synehubov.
The attacks hit critical energy and industrial targets in the region’s Kharkiv and Chuhuev districts, he said.
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.
Ukraine insisted its forces were fighting to maintain control of Soledar, but acknowledged that the situation was difficult, street fighting was raging and Russian troops were advancing from several directions.
Russia said on Friday its troops had taken control of the city with a pre-war population of 10,000 in what would be a small advance but one of psychological significance to Russian troops who have suffered months of battlefield setbacks.
Reuters could not immediately verify the situation in Soledar.
Written by Tom Balmforth Edited by Angus MacSwan, Mark Heinrich, Tomasz Janowski and Frances Kerry
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