Missile hits Dnipro as Britain pledges Challenger 2 tanks for Ukraine

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DNIPRO, Ukraine — Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities in a serious assault Saturday, killing not less than 12 in a strike on an condominium constructing within the central metropolis of Dnipro — the most recent salvo in a brutal conflict that has satisfied Kyiv’s Western allies to ship more and more superior army gear to Ukraine.

Dozens of first responders scrambled via the wreckage of the condominium block, trying to find survivors. Rescuers battled smoke billowing from the flattened multistory constructing, passing ladders via particles that stood a number of tales excessive.

No less than 73 had been wounded within the assault, in keeping with Ukraine’s prime army commander, together with 14 kids. No less than 38 had been rescued.

The toll might rise, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential workplace, advised in a Telegram submit. As much as 200 folks, together with 50 kids, lived in flats within the destroyed entrance, he mentioned. Greater than 1,000 residents may have emergency shelter.

Earlier, explosions shook Kyiv residents awake in what Ukraine’s air power mentioned was “most likely” a ballistic missile assault. Ukraine lacks the potential to detect ballistic missiles, so Kyiv residents heard sirens solely after the assault. Town’s mayor mentioned missile fragments landed in a nonresidential a part of the town, sparking a fireplace that triggered no casualties.

Ukraine’s air power mentioned it had shot down 25 out of 38 missiles launched in Saturday’s assault. However rockets hit vitality infrastructure in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia and different areas, prompting Ukraine to introduce emergency shutdowns “in most regions,” Vitality Minister Herman Halushchenko mentioned in a Fb submit.

“The next few days are going to be difficult,” he added.

Maksym Kozytsksyy, head of the Lviv regional administration, mentioned round 40 p.c of the area, or about 300,000 houses, had been with out energy.

The assault got here as Britain confirmed plans to ship heavy battle tanks to Ukraine, answering a long-standing request from Kyiv as its struggle towards Russia’s invasion approaches the one-year mark with no indicators of abating.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak advised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a telephone name Saturday that his nation would offer Challenger 2 tanks, together with further artillery programs, in keeping with a information launch from 10 Downing Avenue.

The announcement marks a major escalation of army assist to Ukrainian forces as they search to take again extra territory and fend off a possible Russian springtime offensive. Western allies had beforehand held again, partly out of worry of frightening a broader confrontation with Russia.

An announcement from the British prime minister’s workplace mentioned a squadron of 14 tanks will go to Ukraine “in the coming weeks,” together with 30 AS-90 self-propelled weapons. Ukrainian troops will start coaching on the tanks and weapons “in the coming days,” the information assertion mentioned.

The motion is “entirely symbolic,” mentioned retired colonel Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Heart for Strategic & Worldwide Research’ Worldwide Safety Program. “Britain only has about 250 of those tanks, so it cannot send many without severely weakening its own forces.”

However Ukraine hopes the transfer will encourage different allies to observe swimsuit. Particularly, Kyiv has sought German-made Leopard 2 tanks — greater than 2,000 of that are scattered throughout Europe.

“Always strong support of the UK is now impenetrable,” Zelensky tweeted on Saturday, including that he had thanked Sunak “for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.”

Russia’s embassy in London warned that the transfer would “only serve to intensify combat operations,” saying the tanks would turn out to be “legitimate large-scale targets.”

Sunak’s announcement got here per week after america, Germany and France agreed to ship superior infantry combating autos to Ukraine.

How Western fight autos certain for Ukraine might change the conflict

Ukrainian officers expressed gratitude for these autos, however requested for heavy tanks as properly. Kyiv’s forces have thus far been utilizing Soviet-era tanks, such because the T-64 and T-72.

Since Ukrainian forces took again giant swaths of territory from Russia in sweeping counteroffensives this fall, the conflict has primarily stalled alongside a entrance line stretching a whole bunch of miles throughout japanese and southern Ukraine. Russia claimed Friday to have captured Soledar, a small salt-mining metropolis within the Donetsk area — what could be its first important territorial achieve in a number of months. Ukraine’s army mentioned combating was ongoing.

These floor battles over territory are separate from the punishing missile strikes Russia has unleashed on cities underneath Ukrainian management, which have diminished houses and hospitals to rubble. A lot of these strikes have focused vital vitality infrastructure, plunging hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians into the chilly and darkish as winter took maintain. Ukrainian authorities have described the wave of assaults as a marketing campaign of terror.

In a televised handle Saturday night, Zelensky mentioned the one strategy to cease “Russian terror” was via “those weapons that are in the warehouses of our partners and that our troops are so waiting for.”

The Challenger 2 is the British Military’s major battle tank. Designed to destroy different armored autos, the tank has heavy armor and a 120mm rifled tank gun, in addition to a 7.62mm chain gun and a separate mounted machine gun. The British Military used it in army operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

The tank is constructed to cross open terrain, which might show particularly helpful within the fields of japanese Ukraine. It’s able to finishing up sturdy, speedy advances that shock enemy forces.

“With NATO-type tanks, we will move towards victory much faster,” Ukrainian Protection Minister Oleksii Reznikov mentioned in an announcement posted to the ministry’s Telegram channel.

Analysts warned that the Challenger 2 will be tough to make use of and keep.

The tanks “would provide quite a lot of logistical challenges to the Ukrainians, because these are very heavy vehicles,” mentioned Sonny Butterworth, an analyst at Janes, the intelligence agency. “They’re going to have to be able to support these vehicles in the field appropriately, otherwise they won’t be able to deploy them to where they need to go.”

Complicating issues, the Challenger 2 makes use of a rifled gun that differs from the NATO customary.

Poland indicated Wednesday that it intends to switch an organization of Leopard 2s to Ukraine as a part of a broader bundle supported by a world coalition. However the re-export of the German-made tanks requires approval from Berlin, which German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not but granted.

Poland urges allies to hitch it in sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine

America is equally hesitant. “We absolutely agree that Ukraine does need tanks,” Laura Cooper, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of protection, advised reporters earlier this month. However she raised issues concerning the skill of Ukrainian forces to take care of Abrams tanks.

“Certainly we know that the Abrams tank, in addition to being a gas guzzler, is quite challenging to maintain,” she mentioned.

Sunak advised Zelensky he and his authorities would work “intensively” with worldwide companions to ship extra army assist, the Downing Avenue assertion mentioned. Protection ministers from dozens of nations will collect Friday for a gathering of the U.S.-led Ukraine Protection Contact Group in Germany, the place they are going to talk about Ukraine’s protection wants.

Stern reported from Mukachevo. Parker reported from Washington. Andrea Salcedo, Ellen Francis, Francesca Ebel and Stefanie Le contributed to this report.

Battle in Ukraine: What you should know

The newest: Russia claimed Friday to have seized management of Soledar, a closely contested salt-mining city in japanese Ukraine the place combating has raged in latest days, however a Ukrainian army official maintained that the battle was not but over.

Russia’s Gamble: The Put up examined the street to conflict in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, via in depth interviews with greater than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officers.

Pictures: Washington Put up photographers have been on the bottom from the start of the conflict — right here’s a few of their strongest work.

How one can assist: Listed here are methods these within the U.S. can assist the Ukrainian folks in addition to what folks all over the world have been donating.

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