The number of Dnieper strikes increases, Moscow vows to “burn” Western tanks
AFP, Posted on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 5:02 pm.
The death toll from Russia’s airstrike on a residential building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday, one of the highest since the start of the war, and could rise.
Vladimir Putin, in turn, condemned the increasing supply of Western weapons to Ukraine, and the Kremlin vowed to “fuel” the tanks it promised to Kiev on the battlefield.
As usual, Moscow also denied responsibility for the massacre in the Dnieper and blamed the Ukrainians. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also mentioned the “tragedy” that could be related to the shooting down of the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense system.
On the contrary, Sweden’s presidency of the European Union condemned “Russia’s war crime”.
On Monday, about 48 hours after a rocket tore through a building on the Quai de la Victoire in Dnieper (east), emergency services said 40 bodies had been found and 75 injured.
Cranes were mobilized to bring rescuers into collapsed and inaccessible apartments or lift concrete slabs. According to the authorities, rescue teams are still searching for 29 people who are still missing under the rubble.
In this ruined place, people laid flowers and stuffed animals in memory of the victims. Other residents of Dnipro donated clothes or blankets to the collection point set up by humanitarian workers.
Since the start of rescue operations, 39 people have been rescued from under the ruins of the building.
– “Western sponsors” –
The Kremlin took two days to react, with its spokesman denying that his country was responsible for the tragedy.
“The Russian armed forces are not bombing residential buildings or civilian infrastructure, they are bombing military facilities,” Peskov said, despite striking many non-military facilities since the beginning of the occupation. , February 24.
Days after Moscow claimed responsibility for the seizure of a small town in eastern Ukraine, President Putin did not comment on the issue on Sunday, noting that Russia’s operations in Ukraine are on a “positive dynamic”. .
The strike, which destroyed a residential building in Dnieper, was carried out against the backdrop of Moscow’s campaign of regular and massive bombings against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since October.
Faced with this barrage of rockets and the threat of a new major attack by Russia, the Westerners have stepped up their military aid to Ukraine. London and Warsaw now plan to equip it with tanks.
On January 20, a meeting is planned to be held at the American base in Ramstein (Germany) regarding the supply of Western arms to Kiev.
Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, in his conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “condemned the destructive line of the Kyiv regime betting on the intensification of the fighting with the support of Western sponsors, who are increasing the supply of weapons. and military equipment” to the Ukrainians.
Earlier, Dmitry Peskov accused the West of using Ukraine “to achieve anti-Russian goals” in his statement to the press, saying, “These tanks are burning and will burn.”
After its victories in the fall, Kyiv says that Russian troops still and above all need heavy tanks, light armor, long-range missile systems and anti-aircraft defenses to retake all the territory they occupied in eastern and southern Ukraine.
On Saturday, London announced the delivery of Challenger 2 to Kiev, which will be the first delivery of Western-made heavy tanks to Ukraine.
And on Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was waiting for a green light from Germany to deliver German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
– Expected grew –
After serious setbacks in the fall, Russia is trying to regain the initiative, notably by redoubling its efforts in the battle to capture the city of Bachmout, which has seen months of bloody fighting in the east.
Moscow declared victory last week, saying it had captured Soledar, a small town northeast of Bakhmut, now largely destroyed.
Ukraine has denied that it left this city with a population of about 10,000 before the war, citing ongoing fighting.
The head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, also said in her speech in The Hague that she is in favor of creating a special tribunal to try Russian leaders after the intervention in Ukraine.
Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is expected to be in Ukraine on Monday.
In a tweet before his departure, he stressed that his organization would expand its presence “to prevent a nuclear accident during an ongoing conflict.”