Deaths, power outages as Russian missiles hit several cities in Ukraine |  Russo-Ukrainian War News

Deaths, power outages as Russian missiles hit several cities in Ukraine | Russo-Ukrainian War News

Russia launched a new missile attack on targets across Ukraine, officials said, killing at least 12 people in the east-central city of Dnipro and disrupting power supplies in the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions.

As a result of shelling on Saturday, a nine-story residential building was destroyed in Dnipro, as a result of which the entire part of the building turned into ruins, and smoke rose into the sky. Officials said a 15-year-old girl was among the dead.

Another 64 people were injured.

“Tragedy!” said Boris Filatov, mayor of the city of rocket scientists on the Dnieper.

“I went to the site. … We will be digging through the rubble all night.”

Footage from the scene shows firefighters extinguishing flames around car wreckage in Dnipro. A wide section of the apartment building was missing, and the exterior of the rest of the building was badly damaged.

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

“They continue to send SMS messages,” Deputy Mayor of Dnipro Mikhailo Lysenko said on a social network. “We stop our work from time to time to maintain silence, and we hear people screaming from under the rubble.”

The governor of the region, Valentin Reznichenko, said that seven children were among the wounded, the youngest of whom was three years old.

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

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that it is not yet known how many people are under the rubble.

“Unfortunately, the death toll is rising by the hour,” he said in his overnight address.

In addition to Dnipro, other cities were also affected on Saturday: Odessa in the south, Kharkiv in the east, Lviv in the west and the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. Civilian infrastructure, including power facilities, were again damaged and blackouts were reported.

In connection with the raids on Saturday, emergency shutdowns were introduced in most regions of Ukraine, Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

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

Officials said that the Kharkiv region is completely de-energized, and there may be interruptions in electricity and water supply in Lviv.

Russia has been shelling Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with rockets and drones since October, causing widespread power outages and disruptions to central heating and plumbing.

Military Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny said that on Saturday, Russia fired 33 cruise missiles, of which 21 were shot down.

Britain promises tanks

Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor, said it had found rocket debris on its soil following the latest Russian raids.

“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine is once again directly affecting Moldova,” President Maia Sandu tweeted, posting photos of the wreckage.

“We strongly condemn today’s intense attacks.”

In his late-night speech, Zelenskiy urged the West to supply more weapons to prevent further deaths from what he called “Russian terror.”

“What is needed for this? Weapons that our partners have in stock and that our soldiers are waiting for. The whole world knows what and how to stop those who sow death,” he said.

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

Britain on Saturday became the first Western country to contribute heavy tanks to the war effort, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying his country would 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.”

UK Department of Defense and Security officials believe a window has opened in which Russia is lagging behind due to resupply issues and plummeting morale. “The prime minister is therefore calling on allies to roll out planned support for 2023 as soon as possible to maximize impact.”

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

Capturing Soledar, which had a pre-war population of 10,000, could improve the position of the Russian forces as they advance towards what has been their main target since October, the nearby traffic intersection of Bakhmut.

On Friday, Russia said its forces had taken control of the city, but Ukraine denied this.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Charles Stratford, reporting from near Soledar, said that there were no obvious signs of Ukrainians leaving the city.

“Russia claims to have taken full control of Soledar, but the smoke rising from the impact sites, the explosions from the almost constant artillery and heavy machine gun fire, say otherwise,” he said.

On the streets leading to Soledar, Army medics occasionally waited to take the wounded to hospitals away from the front lines, Stratford said. It was observed that Ukrainian armored personnel carriers were carrying troops towards the city, and artillery pieces were clogged in defensive positions.

One soldier called for better weapons.

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

On Saturday, Turkey said it was ready to push for a local ceasefire in Ukraine and warned that neither Moscow nor Kyiv had the military means to “win the war.”

Foreign policy adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, acknowledged that it is unlikely that the warring parties are ready to conclude a “comprehensive peace agreement” in the coming months.

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