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Ukraine missile toll rises to 40 as Russia denies assault

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The toll from a devastating strike on Ukraine’s Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday, as extra our bodies had been pulled from the particles of one in all Russia’s deadliest assaults since its invasion.

Kyiv has referred to as for extra weapons to defend itself and on the weekend obtained pledges of British tanks, however Russian President Vladimir Putin warned extra armaments would solely intensify preventing and the Kremlin vowed to burn the gear.

In Dnipro, residents gathered to get heat drinks and meals subsequent to the partially collapsed Soviet-style residential constructing that was ripped open by the strike in central Ukraine on Saturday.

The emergency providers gave the brand new toll, specifying that three kids had been amongst these useless and that 29 folks had been nonetheless unaccounted for.

The Kremlin claimed its forces weren’t accountable and pointed to an unsubstantiated concept circulating on social media that Ukrainian air defence techniques had brought on the injury.

“The Russian armed forces do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure. They strike military targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed reporters.

EU presidency holder Sweden condemned “in the strongest terms” the assault, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson telling reporters that “intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes.”

Read | 30 killed as Russian missile hit Dnipro, Zelenskyy says ‘battle of Soledar continues’

Tanks ‘will burn’

To face up to Russian assaults, Ukraine has in current weeks been urgent Western backers to produce its forces with superior tanks, particularly the German-designed Leopard mannequin.

Berlin has been closely criticised over its stuttering response to the struggle in Ukraine.

After months of criticism — and a collection of gaffes — German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday.

Lambrecht’s transfer comes days earlier than the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which coordinates arms provides to Kyiv, is because of meet on the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned in an interview with German media on Sunday that “recent pledges for heavy warfare equipment are important — and I expect more in the near future”.

Britain this weekend pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, which might make it the primary Western nation to produce the heavy tanks Kyiv has been calling for.

Putin on Monday slammed Kyiv’s “destructive” insurance policies that “bet on the intensification of hostilities with the support of Western sponsors who are ramping up the supplies of weapons.”

His spokesperson informed reporters that “these tanks are burning and will burn.”

Read | Rishi Sunak says UK will present Ukraine with heavy tanks, Russia points warning

‘Defensive’ Belarus drills

This got here as Russia and its shut ally Belarus introduced the start of latest joint navy drills.

Belarus, which has been a key ally to Russia all through the battle, allowed Moscow’s forces to launch their invasion from Belarusian territory final February.

Its defence ministry mentioned the air power workout routines would contain joint “tactical” flights and that each airfield in Belarus can be concerned.

“The exercise is purely defensive in nature,” Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarus’s Security Council, mentioned in remarks carried Sunday by the defence ministry.

The Institute for the Study of War, primarily based within the United States, mentioned in an analytical observe Monday that the chance of a brand new offensive from Belarus was “low” and “the risk of Belarusian direct involvement was very low.”

Meanwhile, UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi was anticipated in Ukraine on Monday to deploy observer missions at nuclear energy crops throughout the nation which have been a key concern all through Russia’s invasion.

“I’m proud to lead this mission to Ukraine, where we’re deploying all of the country’s NPPs (nuclear power plants) to provide assistance in nuclear safety and security,” he mentioned on Twitter.

.@IAEAorg is increasing its presence in #Ukraine to assist forestall a nuclear accident through the ongoing battle. I’m proud to guide this mission to 🇺🇦, the place we’re deploying in the entire nation’s NPPs to supply help in nuclear security & safety.
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) January 16, 2023

Separately on Monday, Ukrainian officers mentioned that Russian forces had continued shelling the southern metropolis of Kherson, which was recaptured by Kyiv’s forces late final 12 months, killing one.

Read | Ukrainian forces prepare close to Belarus amid recent assault menace, Putin orders navy shake-up