Rescuers searched through the night for survivors in the rubble of an apartment building hit by a Russian missile strike in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, Ukrainian officials said Sunday as the hunt for those buried in the debris went on.
Offering his “condolences to relatives and friends” of the victims, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post that a child was among those killed in the strike on the city in south-central Ukraine.
“Round the clock. We continue to fight for every life,” he said.
The death toll rose to 40, officials said Monday, with at least 75 people wounded and 30 others still missing.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in Zelenskyy’s office, said in a separate post on his Telegram channel that 72 apartments had been destroyed in the strike and 164 had been damaged. Work at the scene was “ongoing,” he said.
“Now it is necessary to resettle the residents of at least 236 apartments — this is more than 400 people who lived in this building and nearby,” he said, adding that more than 500 people were helping with the rescue efforts.
Tymoshenko also said 21 people had died in the strike, which came as many Ukrainians were observing the traditional Old New Year and Orthodox New Year.
NBC News has not been able to independently verify the number of dead.
Emergency personnel said early Sunday they could hear people trapped under piles of debris screaming for help, but with freezing temperatures rescuers faced a race against time to pull them from the rubble.
Observing a moment of silence in a house destroyed by shelling, rescuers overheard one woman and managed to pull her from the debris, Denys Monastyrskyi, Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, said in a Telegram post.
Officials warned that the strikes — Russia’s largest in two weeks —would restrict power supplies in the capital and over large swaths of the country this week. In Kharkiv, underground subway systems suspended operations amid the attacks and regional officials urged residents to seek shelter.
The bombardment continued Sunday, when the Ukrainian military command said Russia had launched three air strikes, 57 missile strikes and 69 attacks from heavy weapon rocket salvo systems on Sunday. Ukrainian forces shot down 26.
Moscow did not comment on the attacks on either Saturday or Sunday.
Elsewhere, there were conflicting reports about the fate of the fiercely contested salt mining town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine.
Russian forces claimed to have captured the town Friday with the assistance of the Wagner Group, a private military force.
It would mark a rare victory for the Kremlin as it approaches one year since it invaded Ukraine in late February, with little success on the battlefield.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Hanna Malyar denied reports that Soledar had fallen on Saturday, saying that “fierce battles” for the town continue.