Ukrainian authorities on Monday began ‘criminal charges’ against Russian soldiers responsible for the missile attack that devastated a nine-story building in Ukraine and killed at least 40 people, one of Moscow’s deadliest attacks on civilians away from combat zones.
At least 25 people are still missing since Saturday’s assault in the central Ukrainian town of Dnipro, and rescue teams continued to search the rubble in the hope of finding survivors, it said. the Ukrainian security service. At least 75 were injured, including 14 children, in a building that housed around 1,700 people.
Seventy-two apartments were destroyed and 236 were damaged, leaving hundreds of Ukrainians homeless in the dead of winter. The security service said several dozen Russian troops were involved, led by Colonel Timoshin Oleg Evgenievich, commander of the Russian 52nd Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment.
“The Ukrainian Security Service is making every effort to ensure that each of the actors involved in the terrorist attack against Ukrainian civilians receives a well-deserved punishment,” the security service said in a statement.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the attack on civilians “an inhuman aggression” and added: “There will be no impunity for these crimes.”
The UN said on Monday it had confirmed the deaths of around 7,000 Ukrainian civilians during the war, including nearly 400 children, while acknowledging that the true figure is much higher.
►The German and Dutch foreign ministers have condemned the Russian deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children, calling it a deliberate policy of cruel and inhumane kidnapping that tears families apart. They demanded that Russia “report the whereabouts of these children”.
►Two alleged Russian agents were detained by Ukrainian counterintelligence officials in Kherson and Odessa. According to investigators, the detainees revealed to the Russians the secret bases of the Ukrainian forces in Kherson during the occupation of the city.
►Russian and Belarusian air forces on Monday began two weeks of joint exercises in Belarus, which borders Ukraine and served as a base for the February 24 Russian invasion.
►Ukrainian Yulianna Tunitskaya won the gold medal at the 2023 World Youth Luge Championship in Austria.
DEATH COUNT INCREASES:Russian missile strike destroys Ukrainian apartments; Zelensky swears revenge
Soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces have arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to begin Patriot air defense training, the Pentagon said. The same instructors who teach in the United States, allied and partner nations will conduct the training, “and these courses will not interfere with ongoing training missions,” the Pentagon statement said. The training should last several months.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that about 100 Ukrainians would be trained in the Patriot missile defense system to help counter Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lobbied for months for the system, saying it would make a significant difference in strengthening the country’s defences. The United States promised a Patriot battery in December as one of several major military assistance programs, and last week Germany promised another. Truck-mounted launch systems can contain up to four missile interceptors, ground radar, control station and generator.
Rather than risk the public backlash that would surely come with a second “partial mobilization”, the Kremlin is considering extending the age of eligibility for conscription, the The UK Ministry of Defense said.
By extending the upper age of regular draft eligibility from 27 to 30, Russia could achieve its stated goal of increasing its military forces by 30%, according to former Deputy Defense Minister Andrey Kartapolov, who has launched the idea last week.
The Defense Ministry said President Vladimir Putin expressed support for the plan last year, adding that “Russian leaders hope that a change in age criteria for routine conscription could bolster the personnel available for to fight in Ukraine, while appearing less alarming for the population” than another mobilization. .
Rinat Akhmetov, owner of one of Ukraine’s most successful soccer teams, has pledged $25 million to help the families of soldiers who defended Mariupol before the city fell to the Russian military in the spring . Akhmetov announced the donation a day after the team, Shakhtar Donetsk, reached a deal worth up to $108 million to sell winger Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea in the British Premier League. Shakhtar said the money promised by Akhmetov did not come from the football transfer. Akhmetov says the donation will fund medical and psychological support for soldiers and their families.
The team hails from Donetsk province, home to Mariupol and the site of some of the fiercest fighting of the war. Shakhtar Donetsk, second in the 16-team Ukrainian league, have temporarily moved to the western city of Lviv.
The Kremlin appears poised for decisive strategic action over the next six months to regain the initiative and end Ukraine’s string of operational successes, Washington-based think tank warns. The Institute for the Study of War says in its latest assessment that while Russian President Vladimir Putin has not changed his war aims, “there is emerging evidence that he is changing fundamental aspects of the Russian approach of the war”. Russia is training new divisions, trying to reinvigorate its defense industrial base and trying to fix shortcomings in the command structure, according to the assessment.
“The Kremlin retains its maximalist goals of taking over all of Ukraine, despite its poor warfare to date,” the assessment reads.
German Defense Minister resigns
Germany’s embattled Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday after spending most of her year at work beset by controversy, beginning with questions about her qualifications for the job. She criticized the German government’s reluctance to send arms to Ukraine even before the war started. While the United States and other countries provided weapons for the Russian invasion last February, Germany offered to provide 5,000 military helmets. More recently, she was convicted for a New Year’s message she posted on social media in which she spoke about the war in Ukraine with the sound of fireworks in the background.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to name his replacement on Tuesday.
Contribute: The Associated Press