A Ukrainian apartment complex in Dnipro was destroyed by a Russian missile attack

  • Five people were killed in the nine-story block – Kyiv authorities
  • At least 27 people were injured when part of the building collapsed
  • Russian missiles again hit energy facilities across the country

KYIV, Jan. 14 (Reuters) – Russia launched a major missile attack on Ukraine on Saturday, smashing a nine-story apartment building in the city of Dnipro, killing at least five people and hitting key energy facilities across the country, officials said.

German Kalushchenko, the country’s energy minister, warned that strikes targeting most of the region would make the coming days “difficult”.

Fifteen people buried under part of an apartment block in the east-central city of Dnipro as smoke billowed into the sky have been rescued, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office said.

“Sad. I’ve gone to the base…. We’ll be going through the rubble all night,” said Boris Filatov, mayor of the rocket-making town on the Dnipro River.

The regional governor said at least 27 people, including six children, were injured in the attack and many others were trapped under the rubble.

Pictures show firefighters putting out flames around the wreckage of some of the cars. A large part of the apartment is missing. The exterior of the rest of the building was heavily damaged.

The wounded were carried away on stretchers in footage broadcast by Ukrainian public broadcaster Zaspilne.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine last February, has been attacking its energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing severe blackouts and disruptions to central heating and running water as winter bites.

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Missiles on Saturday hit critical infrastructure facilities east of Kharkiv, which borders Russia, and west of Lviv, which borders Poland, officials said.

The entire Kharkiv region lost power after authorities were forced to order an emergency power cut. In Lviv, disruptions in electricity and water supply are possible, regional governor Maksim Kositsky said.

“Thanks to efficient air defense work in Kyiv, damage to critical infrastructure objects was avoided,” said Serhii Babko, head of the city’s military administration.

Moldova’s interior ministry said missile debris had been found in the country’s north, near the border with Ukraine, following an airstrike.

Morning Attack

Saturday’s attack came hours after a small-scale missile strike hit critical infrastructure in Kiev and the eastern city of Kharkiv. The first attack was unusual because the missiles hit their targets before the air raid sirens sounded. No one was reported injured, but missile debris caused fires in an area and damaged homes outside the capital, officials said.

Ukrainergo, which operates Ukraine’s power grid, said its workers were racing to repair the damage and that the network was struggling with power shortages caused by earlier attacks, even though it was -2 Celsius (28 Fahrenheit), mildly cold in Kyiv.

Cold weather generally puts more stress on the system because energy consumption increases.

DTEK, the largest private power company, introduced emergency blackouts in many areas.

Residential infrastructure was also affected in the village of Kopiliv outside the capital. The windows and roofs of 18 privately owned houses were broken or damaged by the blasts, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said.

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Commenting on the first strike, Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat said Russia’s missiles may have been launched from the north on a high, rotating ballistic trajectory, which would explain why the air raid sirens did not sound.

Ukraine was unable to identify and shoot down the ballistic missiles, Ukrainska told Pravda online outlet.

Missiles hit Kargi

In Ukraine’s northeast, two S-300 missiles hit the city of Kharkiv near the Russian border early Saturday, regional governor Oleg Sinehupov said.

The attacks hit important energy and industrial targets in the region’s Kharkiv and Suhuvev districts, he said.

Saturday’s strikes came as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Solader, a small salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine that has been the focus of a relentless Russian offensive for days.

In what would be a rare victory for Moscow after months of battlefield setbacks, Russia said on Friday that its forces had taken control of the city, but said its troops were still fighting there.

Reuters could not immediately verify Soledar’s condition.

Writing by Angus MacSwan, Mark Heinrich, Frances Kerry and Tomasz Janowski Editing by Tom Balmforth

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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