Ukraine Latest: Russian Missile Hits Apartment Tower, Kills Nine

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At least nine people were killed and dozens wounded, including children, after a Russian missile struck a nine-story apartment tower in the city of Dnipro, shattering two weeks of relative calm in Ukraine.

The attack on one of Ukraine’s most populous cities came in an early-afternoon wave, the 10th mass missile strikes by Russia since early October. The day’s barrage, which included air and sea-launched cruise missiles, also hit infrastructure targets in Kyiv and Kharkhiv. Ukraine’s air defense said Russia probably launched ballistic missiles, undetectable by air defense, from the north. The Ukrainian military said it intercepted 25 of 38 missiles fired.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will send battle tanks to Ukraine, which would make it the first Western nation to do so.

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Key Developments

  • Ukraine Pushes Back on Russia’s Claim it Has Taken Soledar

  • Russian Strike on Ukraine Housing Block Kills at Least Five

  • Russia Tycoons Fear Tightening Kremlin Squeeze as War Drags On

  • UK Will Send Major Battle Tanks, More Artillery to Ukraine

  • How Europe Is Muddling Through Putin’s Energy War: QuickTake

On the Ground

Russian troops continue to focus their main efforts on attempts to seize the eastern Donetsk region, advancing towards Bakhmut, according to Ukraine’s Military Staff. Kremlin troops continue to shell various Ukrainian regions, including the city of Kharkiv, where two S-300 missiles hit a residential district, regional governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram. Russian forces carried out more than 95 attacks from multiple launch rocket systems, in particular on Kherson in the south, over the past 24 hours.

(All times CET)

Dnipro Building Deaths Rise to Nine (8:55 p.m.)

At least nine people were killed and 64 others injured after a Russian missile hit a high-rise apartment building in Dnipro on Saturday, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, military administration chief of the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Images released by Ukraine show part of a building totally demolished with adjacent areas heavily damaged. Rescuers fought “fighting for every person, every life,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. At least 12 children were among the wounded and more than 1,000 people were left homeless.

Zelenskiy said “Russian terror” can only be stopped on the battlefield in Ukraine. What’s needed are “weapons that are in the warehouses of our partners and that our troops are so waiting for,” he said in a statement after the attack.

Apartment Building Hit in Dnipro (3 p.m.)

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of Ukraine’s presidential office, posted on Telegram a photo of what he said was the the partially-collapsed Dnipro building engulfed in smoke and flames. Explosions were also reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv and as far from the eastern front as Vinnytsia and Lviv in western Ukraine.

Much of Ukraine Under Air Raid Alert (2 p.m.)

Ukraine was hit by a second wave of Russian air strikes Saturday afternoon, with air defense active in the Mykolayiv and Odesa regions. Air-raid sirens sounded across much of the country.

Vitaliy Kim, governor of the Mykolayiv region in Ukraine’s south, warned earlier that 17 Russian fighter jets had launched from bases in Russia and warned of potential attacks. Artillery shelling was also reported in and around Nikopol, southwest of Zaporizhzhia, and explosions were reported in Vinnytsia Oblast in Ukraine’s southwest

Saturday marks Russia’s first major wave of air strikes since a brief, self-imposed “cease fire” over Orthodox Christmas a week ago, and the first since a new commander was named to Russian the Kremlin’s war effort.

Sunak, Zelenskiy Speak as UK Offers Challenger Tanks (12:30 p.m.)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke by phone Saturday with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, outlining the UK’s plan to provide Challenger 2 battle tanks and additional artillery systems to Ukraine, according to a UK readout.

The pair “welcomed other international commitments in this vein, including Poland’s offer to provide a company of Leopard tanks,” according to the readout.

The UK would become the first Western nation to send main battle tanks to Ukraine. Four British Army Challenger 2 tanks will be sent to eastern Europe immediately, with eight more to follow, The Sun reported Friday.

Military Official Says Russian Missiles Likely Ballistic (10:30 a.m.)

Ukrainian specialists will study the wreckage of missiles fired by Russia on Saturday to determine the type of rockets used, Air Defence spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said in a televised interview.

“It is obvious that these were either ballistic missiles or S-300 anti-aircraft missiles flying along a ballistic trajectory,” he said.

Kharkiv Region Also Hit, Power Cuts Possible (10 a.m.)

Electricity supplies could be cut in Kharkiv and the surrounding region on Saturday after Russian strikes on energy infrastructure and other industrial sites, said regional governor Oleh Synyehubov.

Oleksiy Kuleba, Kyiv regional governor, said 18 private houses were damaged in attacks on Saturday. Russia hit residential areas in the village of Kopyliv, about 50 km (31 miles) west of downtown Kyiv. There was no word on casualties. In the capital, a fire at what was termed a non-residential infrastructure target was extinguished.

Poland Says Russian Offensive From Belarus ‘Real Risk’ (9:30 a.m.)

A new Russian offensive on Ukraine and its capital launched from neighboring Belarus against Ukraine is a “real risk,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Saturday, echoing recent comments from Ukrainian officials.

“I am afraid of that,” Morawiecki said in an interview with Radio RMF. He said this risk is being taken into account by Poland’s allies from the US, the UK and NATO. “That’s why we are boosting our military presence in eastern Poland,” the premier said.

Russian Missiles Strike Infrastructure in Kyiv, Officials Say (9 a.m.)

Kremlin forces attacked critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine’s capital with missiles on Saturday morning, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office. Air raid sirens were heard in Kyiv after a series of loud blasts. An air alert was also posted for the Chernihiv region.

The strike “seems to have been made with operational-tactical ballistic missiles of Iskander type,” potentially launched from Belarus, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, said on Twitter. There’s been no official confirmation of the type of weapon. Ukraine Air Defense said rockets were launched from the north, but didn’t specify from which airbase.

Explosions took place in Kyiv’s Dniprovskyi district on the east bank of the Dnipro River, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Buildings were also damaged in the Holosiyivskyi district, the mayor said.

Zelenskiy Sees Support From Europe to Deliver More Weapons (8 a.m.)

Talks this week helped Ukraine drum up more backing from Western partners on readiness to deliver more weapons, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address. Ukraine’s president spoke on Friday with the leaders of Slovakia and Albania.

“Thanks to the negotiations this week, we managed to significantly strengthen the resoluteness of our partners to increase the supply of weapons to Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said.

German Industry Moves Past Worst of Putin’s Energy Crunch (7 a.m.)

Germany industrial heavyweights fighting an unprecedented energy crunch engineered by Russian President Vladimir Putin are seeing signs the worst of the crisis has passed, and Germany’s move to wean itself of Russian gas is paying off.

Fears of gas rationing have dissipated for the country’s chemicals, metals and glass makers amid mild temperatures and Germany completing its first liquefied natural gas import terminal.

German Industry Moves Past Worst of Energy Crunch Battle

Russia Says Wagner Group Led Soledar Assault (6 p.m.)

The attack on the salt-mining town of Soledar was carried out by different groups of Russian forces, with the direct assault on Ukrainian troops holding the town conducted by the Kremlin-affiliated private mercenary group Wagner, Interfax reported, citing Russia’s defense ministry.

The “offensive actions” were carried out according to “a single concept and plan, which provided the solution of a complex of combat tasks,” according to the statement cited by Interfax.

The direct assault on parts of town occupied by Ukrainian forces “was successfully solved by the courageous and selfless actions of” Wagner forces.

Germany Close to Decision on Leopard Tanks to Ukraine (3:16 p.m.)

Germany is leaning toward supplying Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine and is likely to make a decision soon, according to two officials familiar with the government’s thinking.

The government in Berlin will decide before defense ministers from allied countries meet at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Jan. 20, one official said.

Read more: Germany Closes In on a Decision to Send Leopard Tanks to Ukraine

Ukrainian Troops Pulling Back From Soledar: CNN (2:30 p.m.)

Although Ukraine’s armed forces have denied Russia’s claim that Kremlin troops have control of Soledar, Kyiv’s troops are being ferried out of area in “what appears to be a fairly organized pullback,” CNN reported from just outside the town in eastern Ukraine.

Mortar and rocket fire was ongoing on Friday, CNN said.

Ukraine’s 2023 Grain Corridor Shipments Hit 1 Million Tons (1:40 p.m.)

Shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea grain corridor in 2023 have reached 1 million tons, the country’s infrastructure ministry said in a statement. Food shipments from unblocked Ukrainian ports have reached 17.3 million tons since Aug. 1 under the safe-transit initiative.

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