Russia-Ukraine War: Death Toll in Apartment Strike Rises to 40

By Ivan Nechepurenko and Sergey Ponomarev

Published on January 16, 2023 – Updated on January 17, 2023

The number of deaths in a Russian attack on an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro has risen to 40, emergency officials said on Monday, as rescuers unearthed more bodies at the site of one of the deadliest attacks against civilians since the start of the war.

As search crews scoured the debris for survivors for a third consecutive day, details began to emerge about the lives lost. They included two young mothers, Olha Usova and Iryna Solomatenko. One victim, Maria Lebid, was 15 years old, a Ukrainian official said.

“She was school president and ballroom dancer,” the official, Emine Dzheppar, the first deputy foreign minister, wrote on Twitter. “Her beautiful life dance was cut short.”

In his nightly address on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said 39 people, including 6 children, had been rescued from under the rubble.

Residents’ apartments were shorn open, exposing scenes of ordinary life disrupted violently. A torn wall exposed a kitchen with cheery, yellow cabinets and a bowl of fruit still on a table at an apartment where Mykhailo Korenovsky, a boxing coach and father of two, had lived.

Mr. Korenovsky’s wife and two children had gone for a walk shortly before the missile hit, according to Iryna Gerlivanova, the director of a shelter set up in a gym that housed some of those displaced by the explosion. “They went for a walk and the father stayed home,” Ms. Gerlivanova said. He was killed in the strike. In interviews, other residents of the building and nearby apartment blocks in a neighborhood of high-rises and parks on a bluff overlooking the Dnipro River described the sense of randomness about who survived, adding to the horror of the attack.

Some were out running errands, others at home when the missile hit. Many of those who escaped the damaged building turned up at Ms. Gerlivanova’s shelter. “Their eyes were like glass,” she said. “It was post-trauma shock.”

Viktoria Tamich, 33, an event organizer, had met a friend at a coffee shop when an air-raid siren sounded on Saturday. She said her friend had convinced her to wait until an all-clear was given before returning home.

When she got there, she said, she saw a “terrible scene”: smoking rubble and rescue workers scrambling about, trying to people who were trapped. “I could hear people screaming under the ruins,” Ms. Tamich said.

Her apartment, across a street from the strike site, was a chaotic jumble of broken glass and debris. The common stairways were covered in bloodstains. “Thank God I was not home,” she said.

At least 75 people were wounded and 34 remained unaccounted for as of Monday afternoon, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said in a post on Telegram, the social messaging app.The strike on Saturday at the nine-story residential building prompted renewed calls for Moscow to be charged with war crimes. In an address to Ukrainians on Sunday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was also critical to punish “those who grease the Russian propaganda machine.”

Switching to Russian, he then warned: “Your cowardly silence, your attempt to ‘wait out’ what is happening, will only end with those same terrorists coming after you one day.”

Hundreds of rescuers are working at the site, the emergency service said, and more than 8,000 tons of debris have been moved. Mr. Zelensky said on Sunday night that the rescue operation would last “as long as there is even the slightest chance to save lives.”

“We are fighting for every person,” he said.

This was republished from the New York Times.

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