Ukrainian officials said Monday the death toll from a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro had risen to 35, with rescue crews still searching the rubble for any survivors.
Dnipropetrovsk regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on social media said the attack had injured 75 people and that the fate of 35 others was unknown.
The missile strike took place Saturday with what Ukraine’s air force command said was a Kh-22 missile launched from Russia’s Kursk region. Military officials said Ukrainian forces shot down 21 of 33 total missiles Russia fired that day, but that Ukraine does not have a system capable of intercepting the Kh-22.
Russian forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets since invading Ukraine in February.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied doing so, including again Monday as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian forces “do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure, they strike military targets.” Peskov said what happened in Dnipro was caused by Ukrainian air defenses.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that he was thankful for words of support from around the world after the attack, adding that it is “very important that normal people unite in response to terror.”
He faulted those in Russia “who even now could not utter even a few words of condemnation.”
“Evil is very sensitive to cowardice,” Zelenskyy said. “Evil always remembers those who fear it or try to bargain with it. And when it comes after you, there will be no one to protect you.”
Ukraine’s neighbor to the north, Belarus, began joint military exercises with Russia on Monday.
The Belarusian defense ministry said the drills would run until February 1 and utilize all of the country’s military airfields.
Areas of training include aerial reconnaissance, border patrols, tactical air assault landing and evacuation of the wounded, the ministry said.
Belarus has participated in numerous military exercises with Russia since the conflict began, increasing fears in Ukraine and among its allies that Russia is hoping Belarus will enter the war on its side, despite assurances from Minsk it won’t join the fight.
Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarusian Security Council, said in a post on the social media platform Telegram that “the exercise is purely defensive in nature.”
Russia held military exercises in Belarus just before sending tens of thousands of those troops across the border into Ukraine at the start of its invasion.
The Kremlin responded to the latest round of Western aid pledged to Ukraine by saying tanks Britain planned to send “will burn just like the rest.”
Britain announced Saturday it will send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help repel Russia’s invasion.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said the tanks would be sent in the coming weeks, with about 30 self-propelled AS-90 guns to follow. He said training for Ukrainian troops on how to use the guns and the tanks will begin soon.
The Challenger 2 is Britain’s main battle tank. It is designed to attack other tanks and has been in service since 1994, according to the army.
Russia has threatened previous Western military aid to Ukraine, including saying U.S.-provided air defense systems and any accompanying personnel would be legitimate targets for Russian forces.
Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse, Reuters and The Associated Press.