The death toll from the strike, one of the deadliest in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, rose today to 35. At least 35 others were still missing after a whole section of the nine-storey block collapsed following Saturday’s attack.
Footage released on Monday showed the woman being pulled from the rubble. Rescue efforts continued but city mayor Borys Filatov said there was little chance of finding others alive. About 75 people were injured in the strike.
It came as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was due to reveal further details on Britain sending 14 Challenger II battle tanks to Ukraine to bolster its forces.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said that he had received messages of sympathy from around the world and condemned the Russian people’s “cowardly silence” over the apartment block attack.
Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were also hit on Saturday in attacks which Moscow said were targeted at Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure.
Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the missile strikes “inhuman”, saying that “Russia intentionally keeps on committing war crimes against civilians”.
Ukrainian troops were still holding out in Soledar despite Russian claims to have captured the town in the east of the country, British defence chiefs said today.
The Ukrainian forces were also gradually seizing more ground near Kremina, which has also been at the centre of fierce fighting. In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence in London said: “Over the weekend, intense fighting continued in both the Kremina and Bakhmut sectors of the Donbas front.
“As of 15 January, Ukrainian armed forces almost certainly maintained positions in Soledar, north of Bakhmut, in the face of continued Wagner Group [mercenary] assaults.”
Meanwhile Russia and Belarus were today beginning joint air force drills, which have triggered fears in Kyiv and the West that Moscow could use its ally to launch a new ground offensive in Ukraine. Belarus said that its air force drills with Russia were defensive in nature, but the move comes as concerns grow that Moscow is pushing Minsk to join the war.
Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarusian security council, said the situation on the country’s southern border with Ukraine was “not very calm” and that Ukraine has been “provoking” Belarus.