Passers-by walk past destroyed buildings, January 12 Passers-by walk past destroyed buildings, January 12  (AFP or licensors)

Prayers as Russian strikes kill over a dozen in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities confirm that at least 14 people were killed and 64 injured at an apartment block hit during a wave of Russian missile attacks across the country. The strikes came shortly after Russia claimed victory in one of the war's most brutal battles over a salt mine town in eastern Ukraine.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Rescue efforts are underway at this devastated block in eastern Ukraine's city of Dnipro. It was one of several sites hit Saturday while Ukrainians tried to celebrate the Old New Year holiday.

More than a dozen people are known to have died here, and many more were injured. Ukrainian authorities say Russia's most giant missile wave in a fortnight had targeted the country's energy infrastructure.

Rescue workers could be seen desperately looking for survivors, with some people shouting between the rubble.

Emergency power outages have been enacted across 11 regions after the attacks, with even explosions being heard in Kyiv, the capital.

The attacks came after Russia declared victory over Soledar, where hundreds of civilians are believed to remain trapped.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said earlier that 559 civilians, including 15 children remained in the eastern salt mine town and could not be evacuated.

Information noise?

However, Ukrainian officials have said the fight for Soledar was still going on and accused Russia of "information noise."

Kyiv has called on its western allies to give it more military support, effectively admitting that its troops suffered heavy losses in fighting at Soledar and nearby Bakhmut in recent months.

Officials have compared the clashes with the worst battles of World War I.

Britain is among several countries that confirmed the government would provide tanks to Ukraine to help Kyiv's forces "push Russian troops back."

But that may take longer than Ukraine wants. The primary arms manufacturer of Germany, which also pledged tanks, warned it will be ready to be delivered in 2024.

That dampened Kyiv's hopes that Britain's promise to deliver Challenger 2 tanks would encourage other European nations to follow suit swiftly.

Neighbours worry

And there are concerns nearby nations are threatened too by Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Moldova's authorities, for instance, said debris from a missile had been found in its territory near the border with Ukraine.

They said on Saturday the find came "after Russia's massive bombardment of Ukraine" and that it was the third time missiles from the conflict had fallen onto Moldova's territory.

A similar accident killed two people in NATO alliance member Poland last year.

That underscored the international implications of Europe's most significant armed conflict in generations, with many people suffering, such as here in Dnipro.

15 January 2023, 20:00