Dnepr is under fire from a deadly Russian missile
There is sadness, fatigue, and anger in Dnipro.
At least 35 people were killed Saturday afternoon when a Russian cruise missile crashed into a nine-story building overlooking a riverside park as families rested in their homes in central Ukraine.
The core of this building is now gone, a mountain of encrypted concrete. The apartments were cut in half when the nearly one metric ton warhead rocket went through the basement.
Svitlana Lishchinskaya, who lives in a nearby building, said the impact shook everything in the walls of her house.
“At that time, my daughter, who was out for a walk with her friend, called me and told me about loud explosions. I ran towards him. The closer I got, the more I looked like hell,” he says.
“When I got there I froze – both entrances were gone. They turned into a pile of concrete and a gaping hole. It was a picture of the apocalypse. Everything in the world was in shock because it was impossible to believe that this was happening to us.
About 36 hours after the strike, smoke was still wafting through the frozen air as heat rose from the impact. Rescue teams scrambled over the debris, their hopes of finding another survivor dwindling by the hour.
Another 35 people are missing, according to Ukrainian officials. The screams of the last person to be rescued were heard just after midnight on Saturday. It took nine hours to reach him, by which time he was suffering from severe hypothermia.
On Sunday evening, a small group of people stood quietly behind the fence, some still hoping for a miracle, others holding flowers or lighting candles. Some wiped away tears as they watched bulldozers tear apart concrete slabs and twisted steel.
Above them, on the fifth floor, firefighters dangerously swept away the debris in someone’s living room. Torn curtains flapped in the wind.
Upstairs, a semi-kitchen is located at the edge of the space. Recently, one of the children living there had a birthday, which was recorded on the Instagram page. Their father, a well-known boxing coach, was killed in the attack.
According to Olkha Nevenchanaya, she passed only half an hour before the building hit. “I have many friends and relatives here. Many, many…” he said before collapsing.
According to Natalya Babachenko, adviser to the head of the Dnepropetrovsk regional military administration, more than 30 people are still in hospital, including 12 in serious condition. A 9-year-old girl is among the seriously injured.
Most of the injured were taken to the Mechanikova hospital, according to chief doctor Sergey Ryzchenko, people were covered in blood and dust and their clothes were torn. Pieces of metal and concrete were embedded in various parts of their bodies.
Amidst the despair, there were moments of joy. Maxim Omelianenko, a soldier serving in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, ran to the Dnieper to see if his mother was alive.
“My mom found out that by some miracle, the only part of my apartment on the 9th floor that survived was in a part of the kitchen, under the stove,” he wrote on Instagram.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, the missile that hit the building was Kh-22.
The Ukrainian army says that it does not have the ability to shoot down such missiles, which are designed not to destroy high-rise buildings, but to sink ships.
The X-22 was developed during the Soviet Union and is known to be inaccurate. Even so, there are no military targets or infrastructure within a few hundred meters of the destroyed building.
According to the military, more than 200 X-22s have been launched against Ukraine since the start of the offensive. Last September, at least 18 people were killed in a shopping center near Kremenchuk.
The building stood on Naberezhna Peremokhi – Victory Bank – named after the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
“When they gave this street this name, they remembered the defeat of the Nazis in World War II,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday. “Just as the free world stopped Nazism, we must do everything we can to stop Russism.”
From now on, the building 118 Naberezhna Peremokhi will be remembered in Dnipro as a symbol of another war.
Olena Loyan, a resident of Dnipro, who stood outside on Sunday and was shocked by the magnitude of the destruction, cursed the Russians.
“I just hate them,” he said. “Guys, people are dead.”
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