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Ukraine war: Chances of more survivors from Dnipro strike minimal – mayor

The mayor of Dnipro has warned there may be no further survivors after Saturday’s Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian city.

A whole section of the nine-storey block collapsed and authorities say at least 40 people died. Rescue efforts are continuing.

Several others are still missing and 75 survivors were injured.

There is “minimal” chance of finding others alive, Mayor Borys Filatov said.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman insisted that the Russian military did not strike at residential buildings. 

“Attacks are made on military targets, either obvious or disguised,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists. 

Ukraine said the building was hit by a Russian Kh-22 missile, which it does not have the capability to shoot down. The missile is also known to be extremely inaccurate, according to the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general. 

But Mr Peskov suggested the strike on the building could have been the result of Ukrainian air defence. 

Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were also hit on Saturday in attacks which Moscow said were targeted at Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the missile strikes “inhuman”, adding that “Russia intentionally keeps on committing war crimes against civilians”.

President Putin said “everything is developing within the framework of the plan of the ministry of defence and the general staff”.

Belarus, on Ukraine’s northern border, is beginning joint air force drills with Russia on Monday. The Belarusian defence ministry insists they will be defensive, but there are concerns that Moscow is pressuring Minsk to join the war in Ukraine. Belarus was one of Russia’s launchpads for the invasion last February. 

In his evening address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted he had received many messages of sympathy from around the world and condemned the Russian people’s “cowardly silence” over the Dnipro attack.

Switching to Russian during his message, he said he wanted to address those “who even now could not utter a few words of condemnation of this terror”.

“Your cowardly silence, your attempt to ‘wait out’ what is happening, will only end with the fact that one day these same terrorists will come for you.” 

He added the victims of the strike included a 15-year-old girl and that two children had been left orphans. 

It has been two weeks since the last wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power grid. On Saturday, Mr Zelensky said energy infrastructure in the Kharkiv and Kyiv regions had been badly hit.

Following the attacks, Ukrainian state energy company Ukrenergo temporarily imposed round-the-clock consumption limits for all regions. Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said the next few days would be “difficult”.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that Ukraine could expect more deliveries of heavy weapons from Western countries. 

“Recent pledges for heavy warfare equipment are important – and I expect more in the near future,” Mr Stoltenberg told German media.

Russia’s missile barrage came on the same day that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government would give Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv’s armed forces in a bid to help “push Russian troops back”. 

In response, Moscow said providing more weapons to Ukraine would lead to intensified Russian operations and more civilian casualties.

Asked about the supply of British tanks to Ukraine, Mr Peskov replied: “These tanks are burning and will burn just like the rest.”

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