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15 Dead as Russian Apartment Block Collapses in Ukrainian Missile Strike 

President Putin denounced “barbaric” attack as Russian apartment building crumbled, leaving 15 dead in onslaught attributed to Ukrainian missile strike.

At least 15 individuals have reportedly lost their lives and 20 sustained injuries on Sunday following the collapse of a segment of a Russian apartment block. 

The incident occurred after the structure was struck by remnants of a Soviet-era missile, which was said to have been launched by Ukraine and intercepted by Russia, as confirmed by Russian authorities.

This devastating event marks one of the deadliest assaults on the Belgorod region. 

Russian officials allege that Ukraine instigated a substantial missile assault, employing Tochka ballistic missiles alongside Adler and RM-70 Vampire (MLRS) multiple launch rocket systems.

Video footage from the scene depicts the collapse of approximately 10 storeys of the building. Subsequently, as emergency services conducted search and rescue operations amidst the debris, the roof gave way, prompting frantic evacuations with dust and rubble cascading in the aftermath.

Russia’s defence ministry labelled the incident a “terrorist attack on residential areas”, asserting that it transpired at 0840 GMT involving a barrage of at least 12 missiles. 

“Fragments of one of the downed Tochka-U missiles damaged an apartment building in the city of Belgorod,” stated the ministry.

In the early hours of Monday, Russia’s emergency ministry reported the tragic loss of 15 lives, with numerous casualties including a child. Rocket sirens echoed as emergency responders tirelessly combed through the wreckage.

Both Ukraine and Russia disavow deliberate targeting of civilians, amidst escalating tensions stemming from Russia’s incursion into Ukraine since February 2022. The conflict has exacted a heavy toll, claiming thousands of lives, displacing millions, and reducing Ukrainian cities to ruins.

The Kremlin confirmed President Vladimir Putin’s awareness of the assault, denouncing it as “barbaric”. Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure as criminal.

No immediate response was forthcoming from Ukraine. Kyiv maintains that its strategic strikes on Russia’s military, transport, and energy infrastructure serve as a response to Russia’s lethal offensives. 

Following intense shelling in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, Russian forces breached the border in recent days, seizing control of at least nine villages. This aggressive maneuver threatens to open up a new front, compelling Ukraine to reinforce its positions amidst ongoing Russian advances in southern and eastern regions.

Russian military tactics reportedly capitalise on numerical superiority, leveraging small, highly mobile units to encircle Ukrainian positions in relatively undefended areas.

Ukraine’s military leadership acknowledged the challenging situation in the Kharkiv region, affirming their commitment to defending their territory.

In March, President Putin hinted at the possibility of establishing a buffer zone within Ukrainian territory in response to Ukrainian attacks on Belgorod.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine traces back to 2014, following the ousting of a pro-Russian president during Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea. United Nations estimates indicate approximately 14,000 fatalities between 2014 and 2021, including over 3,100 civilians.

Chioma Kalu

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