A toddler’s body was pulled from the rubble of the recent Russian attack on Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Rescue workers on Saturday pulled the body of a toddler from the rubble during a search for survivors of a Russian missile attack that pierced an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.
The missile was one of 16 by Ukrainian authorities who have evaded air defenses, among 76 missiles fired in Friday’s latest Russian attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, part of Moscow’s strategy to keep Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in the dark this winter and to leave in the cold.
Governor Valentyn Reznichenko of the Dnipropetrovsk region, where Kryvyi Rih is located, wrote on the Telegram social media app that “rescuers have recovered the body of a 1 1/2-year-old boy from under the rubble of a house destroyed by a Russian Rocket.” A total of four people were killed and 13 injured – four of them children – in the strike, authorities said.
Reznichenko said Russian forces’ pounding continued overnight, damaging power lines and homes in the towns of Nikopol, Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka, which lie across the Dnieper from the Russian-held Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
On Saturday morning, Ukraine’s military leadership said Russian forces had fired more than 20 more rockets since the barrage a day earlier. It was not said how many of them might have been stopped by air defenses.
Firefighters from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service work on December 16 to put out a fire at a building in Kryvyi Rih.
Friday’s attack, which devastated much of central, eastern and southern Ukraine, represented one of the largest attacks on the capital Kyiv since Russia began the war by attacking Ukraine on February 24. Kyiv came under fire from about 40 missiles on Friday, authorities said, almost all intercepted by air defenses.
In Kherson, where Ukraine regained control last month, a Russian attack on Saturday killed a 36-year-old man and wounded a 70-year-old woman, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said.
Once again, Ukraine’s utility crews have had to scramble to repair damaged electricity and water systems as Russia targets vital services for civilians as winter’s harshness hit.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported on Saturday that two-thirds of households in the country’s capital were reconnected to the electricity grid and all had regained access to water. The subway system was also put back into service after serving as emergency shelter the previous day.
Half of Kyiv province, which surrounds but does not include the Ukrainian capital, was still without power a day after Friday’s attack, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said, adding that rain and snow that iced power lines are hampering recovery efforts the power supply more difficult.
The head of northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, Oleh Syniehubov, said on Saturday that power had been restored across the region, including the city of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest metropolis. The power went out on Friday in attacks with 10 S-300 missiles.
In Kryvyi Rih, 596 miners were stuck underground due to rocket attacks, but all were eventually rescued, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said late Friday.
A woman cries in front of the destroyed building in Kryvyi Rih.
On Saturday in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized a new package of sanctions by the European Union that had been passed the day before. Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova branded the EU’s ninth series of sanctions in response to the war as “unlawful unilateral restrictive measures” and criticized a broadcast ban on four major Russian TV channels as “authoritarian”.
By allowing EU member states to provide “certain exemptions” for Russian food and fertilizer exporters, Zakharova claimed that the EU recognizes that its “restrictive measures have undermined world food security”. Targets of the latest round of sanctions include divisions of the Russian army and all of Russia’s parliamentary parties. Also included in the package are a ban on aircraft engine exports to Russia and sanctions on the energy and mining sectors
The Kremlin confirmed on Saturday that a day earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin huddled with military commanders including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. He also spoke to commanders from various branches.
Meanwhile, installation of a protective dome over the spent fuel storage area at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has started, an official with the Moscow-based authorities of Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhia province said on Saturday. Vladimir Rogov said the dome would protect against shrapnel and improvised explosive devices carried by drones. The Russian-held power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been shelled repeatedly; its six reactors have been shut down for months.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently announced plans to station nuclear safety and security experts at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to prevent any nuclear accident. The UN nuclear watchdog has already sent a permanent mission to the Zaporizhia power plant.