Russia launched a new wave of missile attacks against Ukraine on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in a high-rise building in the eastern city of Dnipro and damaging energy infrastructure in six regions, Ukrainian officials said.
A rescue operation continued in Dnipro on Sunday morning, where a missile strike devastated a nine-storey residential building. Another 73 people were injured in the attack and 40 are hospitalized, said Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.
“The fate of nearly 40 other people remains unknown,” Reznichenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Other cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa were also hit in Saturday’s Russian missile strikes, which once again targeted Ukraine’s energy facilities. Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said on Saturday that emergency power cuts had been instituted in most areas due to the shelling.
“The next few days are going to be difficult. Energy workers are already working to restore electricity supply,” Galushchenko wrote on Facebook.
Saturday’s attacks, which took place as Ukraine marked the Orthodox New Year, were the biggest attack in two weeks. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russia carried out 57 missile strikes on Saturday, as well as 69 rocket launcher attacks. Ukrainian forces destroyed 26 of the missiles, the ministry said.
The strikes came as the British government confirmed it would send a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine in what Downing Street called “the start of a shift” in support of Kyiv. The UK will also send 30 AS90 self-propelled guns and begin training Ukrainian troops in the operation of the new equipment within days, Downing Street said.
In his Saturday night address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the Dnipro attack, saying the cleanup of debris was underway. He said that to defeat Russia on the battlefield, Ukraine needed “those weapons that are in the warehouses of our partners and that the troops are waiting for so long”.