Dnipro reeling from deadly Russian missile

Dnipro, Ukraine

In Dnipro, there is grief, exhaustion and anger.

Early Saturday afternoon, as families relaxed at their homes in the central Ukrainian city, a Russian cruise missile struck a nine-story building overlooking a park by the river, killing at least 30 people.

The core of this building is now gone, transformed into a mountain of scrambled concrete. The apartments were cut in half when the missile – with a warhead of almost a metric ton – penetrated all the way to the basement.

Svitlana Lishchynska, who lives in a nearby building, said the impact shook everything on the walls of her house.

“At the same time, my daughter, who had gone for a walk with her friend, called me and told me about the loud explosions. I ran towards her. The closer I got, the more hell it looked like,” she said.

“When I got there I froze – the two entrances just didn’t exist anymore. They had turned into a pile of concrete and a gaping hole. It was a picture of the apocalypse. Everything the world was in a kind of stupor, because it was impossible to believe that this was happening to us.

Some 36 hours after the strike, smoke was still drifting through the freezing air as heat rose from its impact. Rescue teams climbed over the debris, their hopes of finding someone else alive dwindling by the hour.

Up to 40 people are still missing, according to Ukrainian officials. The last person to be rescued was heard screaming shortly after midnight on Saturday. It took nine hours to reach her, by which time she was suffering from severe hypothermia.

Small groups of people stood quietly behind a cordon on Sunday evening, some still holding out hope for a miracle, others holding flowers or lighting candles. A few wiped away tears as they watched bulldozers tear through slabs of concrete and twisted steel.

Above them, on the fifth floor, firefighters dangerously swept debris from someone’s living room. Tattered curtains flapped in the wind.

On the top floor, a half-kitchen teetered on the edge of the void. Not too long ago a birthday party was thrown for one of the children who live there, the occasion captured in an Instagram post. Their father, a well-known boxing trainer, was killed in the attack.

Olha Nevenchanaya said she only passed the building about half an hour before it was hit. “There are a lot of friends and people close to me here. Many, many…” she said, before collapsing.

More than 30 people are still hospitalized, including 12 in serious condition, according to Natalia Babachenko, adviser to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration. A 9-year-old girl is among the seriously injured.

Most of the injured were taken to Mechanikova Hospital, where chief medical officer Serhii Ryzchenko said people arrived covered in blood and dust, their clothes torn. Pieces of metal and concrete were embedded in every part of their body.

Amid the despair, however, there were also moments of joy. A soldier serving in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, Maksim Omelianenko, ran to Dnipro to find out if his mother was still alive.

“Learning that, most likely by some miracle, my mother survived, in a piece of the kitchen, the only surviving part of my 9th floor apartment, wedged under the stove,” he posted on Instagram.

The Russian missile fired at the building in Dnipro was a Kh-22, according to the Ukrainian military.

The missile that hit the building was a Kh-22, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The Ukrainian military says it does not have the capability to bring down such missiles, which were designed to sink ships, not annihilate apartment buildings.

The Kh-22 was designed during Soviet times and is notoriously inaccurate. Even so, there are no military targets or infrastructure within several hundred meters of the building that was destroyed.

More than 200 Kh-22s have been launched against Ukraine since the start of the invasion, according to the army. One hit a shopping center near Kremenchuk last September, killing at least 18 people.

The building stood on Naberezhna Peremohy – the Victory Embankment – named after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

“When they gave this name to this street, they had in mind the victory over the Nazis in World War II,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday. “And we must do everything we can to stop Ruscism, just as the free world stopped Nazism.”

From now on, the building of 118 Naberezhna Peremohy will be remembered in Dnipro as the symbol of another war.

Standing outside on Sunday stunned by the scale of the destruction, Dnipro resident Olena Loyan cursed the Russians.

“I just hate them,” she said. “Children, people, died.”


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