The toll from a devastating strike on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday, as more bodies were pulled from the debris of one of Russia’s deadliest attacks since its invasion.
Kyiv has called for more weapons to defend itself and at the weekend received pledges of British tanks, but Russian President Vladimir Putin warned more armaments would only intensify fighting and the Kremlin vowed to burn the gear.
In Dnipro, residents gathered to get warm drinks and food next to the partially collapsed Soviet-style residential building that was ripped open by the strike on Saturday.
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The emergency services gave the new toll specifying that three children were among those dead, and that 29 people were still unaccounted for.
The Kremlin claimed its forces were not responsible and pointed to an unsubstantiated theory circulating on social media that Ukrainian air defence systems had caused the damage.
“The Russian armed forces do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure. They strike military targets,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
EU presidency holder Sweden condemned “in the strongest terms” the attack, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson telling reporters that “intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack, with his spokesperson saying it was “another example of a suspected violation of the laws of war.”