Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

45 Dead, 20 Still Missing as Ukraine Ends Tower Block Search

Wed 18 Jan 2023 | 01:55 AM

Rescuers called off the search on Tuesday for victims of the Russian missile strike in the city of Dnipro with 20 people still missing and funerals being held in the grief-stricken Ukrainian city.

After the carnage, the Ukrainians pressed ahead with talks to obtain more Western weapons, and Ukraine's army chief Valery Zaluzhny met Mark Milley, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the first time in person in Poland.

Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday the Russian strike in the eastern city of Dnipro at the weekend killed at least 45 people including six children.

The youngest victim was 11 months old, officials said.

One of the bodies recovered from the rubble Tuesday was that of a child.

The toll made Saturday's strike one of the deadliest attacks since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago.

The Kremlin denies responsibility for the strike that also injured 79 people, including 16 children.

In Dnipro, several hundred residents gathered to pay their last respects to Ukrainian boxing coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky.

"He gave many a start in life," said Taras Ivanov, whose son trained with coach Korenovsky.

"This loss has affected our family," the father told AFP, calling Korenovsky a "legend." "Everything inside me is shaking."

Artem Biryukov said Korenovsky was like a "second father" to him. "Thanks to him I became who I am now," he said.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his pledge that everyone who had "caused this terror" would be found and held to account.

Municipal workers clearing out the partially collapsed Soviet-designed housing block removed more than 9,000 tonnes of construction debris and over 40 damaged cars since the rescue work began on Saturday.

At 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), emergency services said the search and rescue operations at the site of the rocket attack were completed.

"Twenty people are still missing," the emergency services said.

In Moscow, a few residents laid flowers in the snow in memory of those killed in the weekend strike, at the monument to the famous Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka.

'Unwavering Support'

Kyiv has called for more weapons to defend itself, and at the weekend received pledges of British tanks. On Tuesday the head of Ukraine's armed forces, Zaluzhny, said he had met Milley, the top US general, for the first time in person in Poland.

"I outlined the urgent needs of the armed forces of Ukraine," he said.

"They discussed the unprovoked and ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and exchanged perspectives and assessments," said Joint Staff spokesperson Dave Butler.

"The chairman reaffirmed unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Germany announced on January 5 that it was following the United States in sending one of the advanced missile defence batteries to Ukraine.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte signalled his "intention" Tuesday during a meeting with President Joe Biden to follow Germany in its delivery of US-made Patriot air-defence missiles to Ukraine.

"We have the intention to join what you're doing with Germany on the Patriots project, the air-defence system," Rutte told Biden in the White House.

Putin warned more armaments would only intensify fighting and the Kremlin vowed to burn the materiel.

US elder statesman Henry Kissinger said Tuesday that Russia's invasion showed there was no longer a point to keeping Ukraine out of NATO, Kyiv's long-held aspiration which he had previously opposed.