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Ukraine death toll hits 40; Russia preparing long war

by The Associated Press | January 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Local residents carry their belongings as they leave their home damaged in the night Russian rocket attack in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)

DNIPRO, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian emergency crews Monday sifted through what was left of a Dnipro apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile, placing bodies from one of the war's deadliest single attacks in months in black bags and gingerly carrying them across steep piles of rubble.

Authorities said the death toll from Saturday's strike rose to 40 and that 30 people remained missing Monday.

About 1,700 people lived in the multistory building, and search and rescue crews have worked nonstop since the missile strike to locate victims and survivors in the wreckage. The regional administration said 39 people have been rescued and at least 75 were wounded.

The reported death toll put it among the deadliest attacks on Ukrainian civilians since before the summer, according to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project. Residents said the apartment tower did not house any military facilities.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the Dnipro strike, saying "attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law" and "must end immediately," U.N. associate spokesperson Stephanie Tremblay said Monday.

Fierce fighting continued to rage Monday in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk province, where military analysts have said both sides are likely suffering heavy troop casualties. No independent verification of developments was possible.

Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk province make up the Donbas, an expansive industrial region bordering Russia that Russian President Vladimir Putin identified as a focus from the war's outset. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv's forces there since 2014.

The Russian and Belarusian air forces began a joint exercise Monday in Belarus, which borders Ukraine and served as a staging ground for Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.The drills are set to run through Feb. 1, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said. Russia has sent its warplanes to Belarus for the drills.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, reported signs of the Kremlin taking steps to turn its Ukraine invasion into "a major conventional war" after months of embarrassing military reversals.

  photo  FILE - Weapons lie on the ground as Ukrainian personnel take a break during training at a military base with UK Armed Forces in Southern England on Oct. 12, 2022. The U.S. military's new, expanded combat training of Ukrainian forces began in Germany on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, with a goal of getting a battalion of about 500 troops back on the battlefield to fight the Russians in the next five to eight weeks, said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
 
 
  photo  A wounded man speaks on the phone as Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Smoke rises as Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Donetsk's emergency employees work at a site of a shopping center destroyed after what Russian officials in Donetsk said it was a shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Donetsk, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo)
 
 
  photo  Rescue workers carry the body of a man who was killed in a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
 
 

Print Headline: Ukraine death toll hits 40; Russia preparing long war

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