A Russian strike tore into a nine-story apartment building in the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine, local officials said, killing at least 14 people, including a 15-year-old girl. Scores were injured.
A massive fire burning in the aftermath of the strike, which left a gaping hole in the residential building. Much of the apartment block was reduced to smoldering rubble, and officials said people were trapped in the debris. A rescue operation was underway, with a large number of fire trucks and emergency workers on the scene.
The building was hit during the second of two waves of Russian aerial strikes targeting infrastructure across Ukraine on Saturday, jolting residents out of two weeks of relative quiet during a festive holiday period.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that every floor of the building had been “smashed” by the explosion from a missile.
“It’s not yet known how many people are under the rubble,” he said in his nightly address. “Unfortunately, the death toll is growing every hour.”
At least 64 people were injured, including 14 children, the head of the Ukrainian military administration for the region, Valentyn Reznichenko, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. He said that rescuers were working to reach people still trapped, adding that more than three dozen had been pulled from under the rubble.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Yuri Ignat, told a local news outlet, Ukrainska Pravda, that the apartment building had been hit with a Kh-22 missile fired from a Russian bomber, a powerful weapon designed to sink air craft carriers.
As darkness fell, smoke continued to billow over a huge pile of rubble. One woman stood by a tree, crying, saying she thought her daughter was in the building.
Residents of the city had turned out in numbers to help remove burned out cars and debris from in front of the building to clear the path for fire trucks and rescuers to come in and raise their ladders.
At one point, an order was given for all vehicle engines to be turned off so the rescuers could listen for the sounds of people trapped under the rubble.
Rescuers on cranes were being guided by the mobile phones and flashlights of those trapped, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said in a Telegram post. He shared a photo of a person holding a light in the window of a damaged upper story, where the whole face of the building had been shorn off.
Before issuing his nightly address, Mr. Zelensky had called the strike “evil” and posted an image of the rescue operation.
“We are fighting for every person, every life,” he said in a Telegram post.
The United Nations resident coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, called the images coming out of Dnipro “horrifying.”
“Dozens of civilians, including children, killed or injured while in their homes,” she wrote on Twitter, adding: “Intentional attacks against civilians is a war crime.”