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War in Ukraine, Day 327 | Dnipro strike death toll rises to 40, Moscow denies responsibility

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(Dnipro) The death toll from a Russian strike on a residential building in Dnipro in Ukraine rose to 40 on Monday, becoming one of the heaviest since the start of the war, and is expected to rise further.

As usual, the Kremlin denied having been responsible for the carnage, placing the blame on the Ukrainians: the spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, in this regard evoked “a tragedy” which could be due to a shooting Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence.

Conversely, the Swedish presidency of the European Union denounced “a Russian war crime”.

On Monday, nearly 48 hours after a missile ripped open a building on Victory Quay in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, 40 dead bodies had been found, according to the emergency services, while 75 injured have been counted. But the fate of 34 people remained unknown, with rescue operations continuing to try to find survivors in the rubble.


PHOTO CLODAGH KILCOYNE, REUTERS

Cranes were in action on Monday to bring rescuers to ravaged and otherwise inaccessible apartments or to lift sections of concrete.

Since the start of rescue operations, 39 people have been rescued from the ruins of the building.





Tank promises

Sunday afternoon, Roman Jouravksy was still desperately looking for his mother who lived there. “My mother has not yet been found. But the probability, given that five floors have collapsed on top of her…” he begins before his voice trails off.

The Kremlin took two days to react, with its spokesman denying that his country could have carried out such a strike.

“The Russian armed forces are not bombing residential buildings or civilian infrastructure, they are bombing military targets,” Peskov said, despite strikes that have hit a slew of non-military targets since the start of the invasion. February 24.

President Vladimir Putin did not comment on the subject on Sunday, saying on the other hand that Russian operations in Ukraine were in a “positive dynamic”, a few days after Moscow claimed responsibility for the capture of a small town in the East. Ukrainian.

The strike that destroyed the apartment building in Dnipro was carried out in the wake of a campaign of regular and massive bombardments that Moscow has been carrying out since October against Ukrainian energy infrastructure, which has plunged the population into darkness and cold in the middle of winter.


PHOTO CLODAGH KILCOYNE, REUTERS

Faced with this rain of missiles and the threat of a new Russian offensive, Westerners have intensified their military aid to Ukraine. They now plan to provide it with armor, in particular tanks, after having long been reluctant to deploy heavy weapons there.

After the Dnipro strike, the United States denounced “a new example of the brutal and barbaric war waged by Russia against the Ukrainian people”.

Faced with promises of delivery of armaments, in particular tanks from the United Kingdom and Poland, the Kremlin swore that these armored vehicles would “burn”. “These tanks are burning and will burn,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, once again accusing the West of using Ukraine “to achieve anti-Russian goals.”

Motivated and strengthened by increasing military and financial aid, the Ukrainian forces repelled the Russian army, inflicting severe reverses on it in the spring and autumn.

However, Kyiv says it needs heavy tanks, light armor, long-range missile systems and anti-aircraft defenses to retake all of the territories that Russian troops occupy in eastern and southern Ukraine.

On Saturday, London announced the supply to Kyiv of Challenger 2, which would be the first delivery of Western-made heavy tanks to Ukraine.

And on Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was waiting for a green light from Germany, whose Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, weakened by a series of blunders, resigned the same day, to deliver tanks to Ukraine. German-made leopard.

Heavy losses in Bakhmout

After severe setbacks in the fall, Russia is trying to regain the initiative with its bombardments on energy infrastructure and by redoubling its efforts in the battle to take Bakhmout, an eastern city in the grip of a bloody battle since several months.


PHOTO REUTERS

Ukrainian soldiers on the front in Bakhmout

Moscow claimed victory last week, claiming to have taken Soledar, a city northeast of Bakhmout.

Today largely destroyed, this town known for its mines had some 10,000 inhabitants before the war.

Ukraine has denied abandoning Soledar, citing ongoing fighting.

The Ukrainian army, in a press release, claimed to inflict “heavy human losses” on the Russians near Bakhmout and Avdiivka, another locality in eastern Ukraine.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the Ukrainian presidency counted three civilians killed in Russian strikes in the southern region of Kherson, partly reconquered by soldiers from Kyiv in November.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is expected, for his part, Monday in Ukraine.

In a tweet before his departure, he stressed that his organization would expand its presence “to help avoid a nuclear accident during the ongoing conflict”.



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