A Russian airstrike on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro killed more than 20 people over the weekend, Ukrainian officials said Sunday, as rescue workers raced to save dozens more believed to be trapped beneath the wreckage.
The Russian Defense Ministry cast the missile barrage Saturday as an effort to take out Ukrainian military command-and-control targets, but at least one missile apparently struck an apartment complex in Dnipro, which was home to about 1,700 civilians. At least 23 people, including at least one child, have been confirmed dead, Ukrainian officials said.
“Rescuers are working. Burn in hell, Russian murderers,”Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council, wrote in a post on his Telegram channel.
At least 73 people were injured in the strike, including 14 children. Nearly 40 people have been saved from the rubble so far.
Civilians in the area said there was no reason for the attack.
“There are no military facilities here. There is nothing here,” local resident Ivan Garnuk told the Associated Press. “There is no air defense, there are no military bases here. It just hit civilians, innocent people.”
Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces fired 33 cruise missiles on Saturday alone. Twenty-one of them were shot down, Ukrainian officials said.
Russian officials said in a statement that “all designated targets have been hit” inside Ukraine, although the statement did not mention the Dnipro apartment building. Throughout the nearly 11-month conflict, Ukraine has accused Russia of indiscriminately targeting civilians, though the Kremlin has denied those charges.
The weekend missile strikes come amid intense fighting on the ground in and around the strategically vital town of Soledar. Russia claimed to have taken control of the town late last week, but Ukrainian officials say their troops are still there fighting.
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.