The death toll of Russian missile fire Saturday at a building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40, as rescuers continued to search the concrete mountain in the hope of finding survivors.
At least 30 people are still missing and 75 others injured, according to local authorities, after the building was split in two with its middle reduced to rubble.
One of the dead was boxing trainer Mykhailo Korenovskyi, the only member of his family who was home at the time. A family friend posted a video of a family celebrating a child’s birthday in their apartment next to a photo taken after the attack on 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 she was suffering from severe hypothermia.
Andriy Ivanyutin, who owns one of the apartments destroyed in the attack, said his tenants were a couple who fled fighting in the eastern province of Donetsk, their children and one of their mothers. “The family goes to church on Sundays but this time they went on Saturday…luckily they weren’t home…but their mother was,” Ivanyutin said. He said the mother was still missing.
Among the survivors were a husband and wife who had fled Kherson for Dnipro. The husband used a flashlight to attract the attention of rescuers while putting pressure on his wife’s wounds.
The attack prompted an outpouring of support from Dnipro residents. The nearby village of Voloske, outside the town of Dnipro, said it was ready to shelter the homeless “as long as necessary”, offering to pay taxi fare on arrival.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said a Russian X-22 anti-ship missile hit the building. Measuring approximately 11 meters in length, almost a meter in diameter and weighing 5,600 kg, the X-22 missile is a ballistic missile with an arch-shaped trajectory.
Ukraine’s air defense forces said in a statement after the Dnipro attack that they did not have the necessary equipment to detect or shoot down ballistic missiles.
After months of appeals from the Ukrainians, the United States agreed to deliver the powerful Patriot air defense systems which, although not infallible, are capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. The United States had been reluctant to do so because it feared Russia would see delivery as an escalation. It will also take time for Ukrainian soldiers to learn how to use the systems.
Ukrainian officials acknowledged there was little hope of finding anyone alive in the rubble, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said rescue efforts in the central Ukrainian town would continue. as long as there is the slightest chance of saving lives”.
Zelenskiy also thanked public figures who spoke about the attack and “did not remain indifferent”.
Sweden, holder of the EU presidency, on Monday called the attack a war crime.
“The Swedish government condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s continued systemic attacks on civilians…in Ukraine, including Saturday’s missile strike on a building in Dnipro,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Swedish, to journalists, calling the attack a “horrible attack”.
“Intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes. Those responsible will be held accountable,” he told a joint press conference in Stockholm with European Council President Charles Michel.
The Kremlin denied responsibility for the attack and pointed to an unsubstantiated theory circulating on social media that Ukrainian air defense systems caused the damage.
“The Russian armed forces do not hit residential buildings or social infrastructure. They hit military targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.