Up To 13,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed Since Russian Invasion

A BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launcher fires towards Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on November 27, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Anatolii STEPANOV / AFP)

As many as 13,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed since Russia’s invasion in February, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

“We have official estimates from the General Staff… And they range from 10,000 … to 13,000 dead,” Mykhailo Podolyak told Ukraine’s Channel 24 on Thursday.

Zelensky would make the official data public “when the right moment comes”, he added.


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In June, as Russian forces battled to take full control of the easternmost Lugansk region, Zelensky said Ukraine was losing “60 to 100 soldiers per day, killed in action, and around 500 people wounded in action”.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in September said 5,937 Russian troops had been killed in the nearly seven months of fighting to that point.

Both sides are suspected of minimising their losses to avoid damaging the morale of their troops.

Top US general Mark Milley last month said more than 100,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, with Kyiv’s forces likely suffering similar casualties.

Those figures — which could not be independently confirmed — are the most precise to date from the US government.

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the worst fighting in Europe in decades.

13,000 Troops Killed Since Russian Invasion – Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers stand on an armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front-line with Russian troops, in Izyum district, Kharkiv region on April 18, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Anatolii Stepanov / AFP
Ukrainian soldiers stand on an armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front-line with Russian troops, in Izyum district, Kharkiv region on April 18, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Anatolii Stepanov / AFP

 

As many as 13,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed since Russia’s invasion in February, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

“We have official estimates from the General Staff… And they range from 10,000 … to 13,000 dead,” Mykhailo Podolyak told Ukraine’s Channel 24 on Thursday.

Zelensky would make the official data public “when the right moment comes”, he added.

In June, as Russian forces battled to take full control of the easternmost Lugansk region, Zelensky said Ukraine was losing “60 to 100 soldiers per day, killed in action, and around 500 people wounded in action”.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in September said 5,937 Russian troops had been killed in the nearly seven months of fighting to that point.

Both sides are suspected of minimising their losses to avoid damaging the morale of their troops.

Top US general Mark Milley last month said more than 100,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, with Kyiv’s forces likely suffering similar casualties.

Those figures — which could not be independently confirmed — are the most precise to date from the US government.

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the worst fighting in Europe in decades.

AFP

A ‘Dear Friend’ To Russia – Putin Mourns Late Chinese Leader Zemin

A photo combination of former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin and Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Credit: AFP

 

President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin — who was hailed as a great communist revolutionary and was announced by Beijing to have died earlier — was a “dear friend” to Russia.

“As a dear friend of our country, Jiang Zemin made an invaluable contribution to the development of Russian-Chinese relations… the bright memory of such an authoritative politician and a wonderful person will forever remain in my heart,” Putin said in a message of condolence to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, according to a Kremlin statement.

READ ALSO: Former China Leader Jiang Zemin Dies At 96

EU Chief Proposes Special Court ‘To Try Russia’s Crimes’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a media statement in Brussels, on October 18, 2021. YVES HERMAN / POOL / AFP

 

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday floated the idea of a “specialised court” to put Russia’s top officials on trial for the war in Ukraine.

“While continuing to support the International Criminal Court, we are proposing to set up a specialised court backed by the United Nations to investigate and prosecute Russia’s crime of aggression,” she said in a video statement.

READ ALSO: Fire Erupts At Oil Depot In Russian Region Bordering Ukraine

More to follow…

Fire Erupts At Oil Depot In Russian Region Bordering Ukraine

Fire is seen billowing from an oil depot in Bryansk, Russia.

 

An oil depot in Russia’s Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine was on fire Wednesday, according to the local governor.

“Reservoirs with oil products are on fire in the Surazhsky district. Fire and rescue teams are at the scene,” governor Alexander Bogomaz said on social media.

READ ALSO: EU Chief Proposes Special Court ‘To Try Russia’s Crimes’

The governor did not say what could have caused the fire.

Bogomaz said the fire engulfed an area of 1,800 square metres (19,000 square feet) and over 80 people were involved in putting it out.

He added that there were no reports of casualties.

Citing emergency services, state news agency TASS later reported that the fire had spread to an area of 4,000 square metres.

In October Russia said an oil depot was on fire after being bombed in Belgorod, which also borders Ukraine, shortly after complaining of an increase in artillery and missile strikes on its territory bordering Ukraine.

AFP

‘Little By Little’: Ukraine Grinds Away On Northeastern Front

A BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launcher fires towards Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on November 27, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Anatolii STEPANOV / AFP)

 

The motivation to keep fighting the Russians is simple for Viking, a Ukrainian soldier near the northeastern frontlines as cold weather and artillery onslaughts bogs down both sides. He wants revenge.

“I can say that the hardest thing for me is the death of my friends. I had motivation before… but the anger, aggression and hatred reinforces it,” says Viking, the nom de guerre of the 26-year-old tank gunner.

But despite the heavy losses incurred by the Ukrainian military over nine months of fighting since the Russian invasion in February, Viking and others in his tank platoon remain confident they will win the war.

“We plan to push the Russians to the borders and even further,” he laughs.

His platoon took part in the breakthrough offensive in September that crushed the Russian’s northeastern flank, sending their troops in a desperate flight east over the Oskil River in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

And while the speed of the counter-offensive has since slowed after the Russian’s reformed their defensive lines, the Ukrainians say they continue to push even as the winter cold sets in — straining supply lines as road conditions and bad weather periodically affect combat.

“We pushed back the Russians, gained a foothold, and are advancing little by little,” explains Patriot, a 23-year-old member of the platoon camped in a bucolic meadow surrounded by pine trees near the front.

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‘A lot of shelling’ 

“There is a lot of shelling. In the last month, I heard about 100 to 200 attacks,” he tells AFP, during a trip to their position organised by the Ukrainian military.

Nearby, a 44-year-old mechanic from the unit, who asked not to be named, labours away on the engine of a Russian tank the platoon had captured during September’s counter-offensive and is now using against its former owners.

“The condition of Russian equipment is very bad. Everything was covered in diesel and dirty,” he says of the tank when they first found it.

“It is almost ready,” he adds.

After nine months in the field, the unit’s Soviet-era hardware reflects the greater dynamics at play in the war — one tank was provided by the Ukrainian military, another was taken from the Russians, and a third donated by Poland.

The ammunition required to fight is supplied in part by Russian stocks captured on the battlefield.

“It’s the Russian lend-lease act,” jokes another member of the team who goes by the call sign Agronome, in reference to a US deal to supply weapons to Ukraine.

The tank platoon’s fight is part of a larger push by the Ukrainian military in the northeast that is hoping to capture a key highway supplying the Russian occupied cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

The two cities were captured by Russian forces following a brutal summer campaign in Donbas, with both sides believed to have lost large numbers of troops.

‘Don’t feel the cold’ 

The loss of the cities would add only further humiliation and stymie Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated goals of capturing the Donbas region, after suffering repeated setbacks triggered by Ukrainian thrusts in both the northeast and the south in Kherson.

“On this part of the frontline we are in charge of holding our position and sometimes launching counter-offensives,” says Roman, a member of the overall tank battalion operating in the area.

“The situation is completely under control and we are ready for new and sometimes unexpected challenges.”

Analysts predict that the tempo of fighting may surge again soon as colder conditions allow for fresh assaults along the frontline.

“Temperatures are forecast to drop across Ukraine over the next week, which will likely freeze the ground and expedite the pace of fighting as mobility increases for both sides,” according to a recent assessment by US-based think tank The Institute for the Study of War.

As for the fighters on the ground, the dropping temperatures matter little when compared to Russia’s artillery barrages.

“When we know we can get hit at any moment, the adrenaline keeps us warm,” says Patriot. “We don’t feel the cold.”

AFP

Ukraine Battles To Reconnect Millions In The Cold And Dark

 

Ukraine battled Friday to get water and power to millions of people cut off after Russia launched dozens of cruise missiles that battered the country’s already crippled electricity grid.

The energy system in Ukraine is on the brink of collapse and millions have endured emergency blackouts over recent weeks.

The World Health Organization has warned of “life-threatening” consequences and estimated that millions could leave their homes as a result.

“The situation with electricity remains difficult in almost all regions,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday evening. “However, we are gradually moving away from blackouts — every hour we return power to new consumers.”

More than 24 hours after Russian strikes smashed Kyiv, mayor Vitali Klitschko said late Thursday that 60 percent of homes in the capital were still suffering emergency outages. Water services had been fully restored however, said city officials.

But the shelling had killed seven people at Vyshgorod, on the outskirts of the city, said Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration.

And a fresh round of strikes Thursday killed at least four people in the southern city of Kherson, recently recaptured by Ukraine, said a senior official there.

The latest attacks on the power grid come with winter setting in and temperatures in the capital hovering just above freezing.

The western region of Khmelnytsky was one of the worst affected by power outages, with just 35 percent of its normal capacity, but that was enough to connect critical infrastructure, according to Serhii Hamaliy, the head of the regional administration.

About 300,000 residents in the eastern Kharkiv region, near the border with Russia, were still without power on Thursday evening, but electricity supply had been restored for nearly 70 percent of consumers, said Oleh Synehubov of the regional military administration.

“We’ve restarted power supplies,” said Igor Terekhov, mayor of Kharkiv city, adding that water was being restored to homes and municipal workers were reconnecting public transport.

“Believe me, it was very difficult.”

Ukraine accused Russian forces of launching around 70 cruise missiles as well as drones in attacks that left 10 dead and around 50 wounded.

But Russia’s defence ministry denied striking any targets inside Kyiv, insisting that Ukrainian and foreign air defence systems had caused the damage.

“Not a single strike was made on targets within the city of Kyiv,” it said.

‘Scariest day’

Moscow is targeting power facilities in an apparent effort to force capitulation after nine months of war that has seen its forces fail in most of their stated territorial objectives.

“The way they fight and target civil infrastructure, it can cause nothing but fury,” said Oleksiy Yakovlenko, chief administrator at a hospital in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kramatorsk.

Despite the increasingly frequent blackouts, Yakovlenko said his resolve was unwavering.

“If they expect us to fall on our knees and crawl to them it won’t happen,” Yakovlenko told AFP.

Russian troops have suffered a string of battlefield defeats.

Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson meant a withdrawal from the only regional capital Russia had captured, Moscow’s troops destroying key infrastructure as they retreated.

On Thursday, Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson military administration, said Russian strikes there had killed at least four people.

“The Russian invaders opened fire on a residential area with multiple rocket launchers. A large building caught fire,” he said on Telegram.

Ukraine prosecutors also said Thursday that the authorities had discovered a total of nine torture sites used by the Russians in Kherson, as well as “the bodies of 432 killed civilians”.

Wednesday’s attacks disconnected three Ukrainian nuclear plants automatically from the national grid and triggered blackouts in neighbouring Moldova, where the energy network is linked to Ukraine.

All three nuclear facilities had been reconnected by Thursday morning, said the energy ministry.

Power was nearly entirely back online in ex-Soviet Moldova, where its pro-European president Maia Sandu convened a special meeting of her security council.

‘Shutdowns’

The Kremlin said Ukraine was ultimately responsible for the fallout from the strikes and that Kyiv could end the strikes by acquiescing to Russian demands.

Ukraine “has every opportunity to settle the situation, to fulfil Russia’s demands and as a result, end all possible suffering of the civilian population,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Zelensky said Ukraine’s forces were “preparing to advance” in some areas.

“Almost every hour I receive reports of occupiers’ attacks on Kherson and other communities of the region,” he said.

“Such terror began immediately after the Russian army was forced to flee from Kherson region. This is the revenge of those who lost.”

The Ukrainian leader struck an optimistic tone at the end of his nightly address.

“We have withstood nine months of full-scale war, and Russia has not found a way to break us.”

Half Of Kyiv Residents Still Without Electricity After Strikes

TOPSHOT – People rest in a coffee shop in Lviv as the city lives through a scheduled power outages on November 24, 2022, after the latest Russian massive airstrikes on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine. (Photo by YURIY DYACHYSHYN / AFP)

 

Nearly half of Kyiv residents were still without electricity on Friday as engineers battled to restore services two days after Russian strikes hammered the country’s energy grid.

Systematic and targeted Russian attacks for weeks have brought Ukraine’s energy infrastructure to its knees as the country careens towards a freezing winter, spurring fears of a health crisis and a further exodus, nine months into war.

Municipal workers struggled Friday to reconnect essential services such as heat and water as temperatures in Kyiv approached freezing and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited to announce a new aid package.

“Half of consumers are still without electricity,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. “A third of houses in Kyiv already have heating and specialists continue to restore it.”

“During the day, energy companies plan to reconnect electricity for all consumers on an alternating basis,” he wrote on Telegram.

Lines of cars queued outside petrol stations in Kyiv on Friday to stock up, AFP journalists said. Mobile networks in some areas were still experiencing disruptions.

Nationwide, repair work was ongoing, said Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, head of national electricity operator Ukrenergo, but insisted that “the most difficult stage” had passed.

Ukrenergo said that producers were providing more than 70 percent of the need across the country.

‘We live like this now’

Millions of Ukrainians have endured the cold without power since Russia fired dozens of missiles and launched drone attacks at water and electricity facilities on Wednesday.

“Yes, this is a difficult situation and yes, it can happen again. But Ukraine can cope,” presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said on television.

With gas for cooking and heating disconnected in her Kyiv apartment, Albina Bilogub told AFP that she and her children all sleep in the same room to stay warm.

“In our building, very few people have gas, so we go to the woman that I work for — I change her clothes because she is disabled — and we cook there,” she said.

“This is our life. One sweater, a second, a third. We live like this now.”

In northern Kyiv, a vet in blue scrubs and a face mask shone a light over an operating table in a darkened clinic as colleagues operated on an ailing dog late Thursday.

“We were in the middle of an operation and our lights turned off because a rocket fell not far away, so there was a power cut,” said Oleksiy Yankovenko.

“I had to finish the operation under the flashlights,” he added.

‘Brutal attacks’

Ukraine’s Western allies have denounced the Russian attacks on energy as a “war crime”, coming in the wake of a string of military setbacks for Russia on the frontlines.

Moscow insists it targets only military linked infrastructure and blamed Kyiv for the blackouts, saying Ukraine can end the suffering by agreeing to Russian demands.

Britain’s foreign minister announced new aid for Ukraine during his visit to Kyiv, including ambulances and support for victims of sexual violence by Russian soldiers.

“As winter sets in, Russia is continuing to try and break Ukrainian resolve through its brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure,” Cleverly said.

“Russia will fail,” he said, vowing UK support “will continue for as long as it takes”.

The attacks on Ukraine’s grid are Russia’s latest strategy designed to force Ukrainian capitulation after Moscow’s forces failed to topple the government and capture Kyiv nine months after launching their invasion.

Although they have captured swathes of territory in the south and east and the Kremlin claimed to annex four regions, Ukrainian troops are clawing back territory.

Russian forces have shelled the southern city of Kherson, from which they retreated earlier this month in their latest setback. The Ukrainian presidency said 11 people were killed and nearly 50 injured in the Kherson region on Thursday.

South Korea Truckers Strike Again, Threatening Supply Chains

South Korean truck drivers who are on strike cross a road near a line of parked trucks on a road outside a container port in Incheon on June 14, 2022, on the eighth day of protests over rising fuel costs that have further snarled global supply chains. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

 

South Korean truckers staged their second major strike in less than six months Thursday, in an action that could disrupt critical global supply chains in sectors from cars to steel.

All 25,000 members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union stopped working, as part of a long-running protest against the ending of a minimum wage guarantee, Park Yeon-su of the organisation told AFP.

With fuel prices rising, the drivers have been demanding the government make permanent the “safe freight rate” minimum pay scheme, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

The administration of Seoul’s conservative president Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday said it would extend the programme for three years, but truckers say there is no point unless the scheme becomes permanent.

“The government earlier this year said they will prioritise this issue, but that certainly didn’t happen,” Park told AFP.

The latest strike comes about five months after the truckers staged an eight-day action in June, delaying cargo shipments across Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.

At the time, the government said the strike cost more than $1.2 billion in shipment disruption for cars, steel and petrochemicals over the first six days.

Thursday’s strike was also expected to inflict significant supply disruption, causing manufacturers to reduce daily output.

The move has again triggered concerns about the impact on global supply chains, already strained by prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Land minister Won Hee-ryong said the strike — which “pours cold water on the national economy” — would “not receive public support”.

“We strongly urge them to withdraw (the strike) and engage in dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible,” Won added.

But truckers say that without the minimum wage guarantee becoming permanent, more workers will become vulnerable to overwork and safety risks, such as driving when tired.

They also demand the scheme be applied to truckers in other industries, including oil, cement and containers, an idea the government has previously rejected.

South Korea has one of the highest industrial fatality rates for a rich economy, with more than 4,000 work-related deaths reported from 2020 to last year, according to Seoul’s labour ministry.

AFP

Russia Strikes ‘Critical Infrastructure’ In Kyiv – Officials

A man stands among debris of the destroyed two-storey building of the maternity ward in the town of Vilnyansk, southern Zaporizhzhia region, on November 23, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Katerina Klochko / AFP)

 

Russian missile strikes hit the Ukraine capital Kyiv Wednesday, officials said, damaging energy infrastructure, the latest in a series of systematic attacks that has caused nationwide blackouts with temperatures dropping.

“The enemy is launching missile strikes on critical infrastructure in Kyiv city. Stay in shelters until the air alert ends,” the Kyiv city administration said on social media.

AFP journalists meanwhile reported power cuts in the north and centre of Kyiv.

Energy operator DTEK said “emergency power shutdowns were imposed in Kyiv” following the strikes.

Engineers are “doing everything possible to stabilise the situation as soon as possible,” DTEK said.

READ ALSO: Moscow Says On Alert After Crimea Hit By ‘Drone Attack’

“A few more explosions in different districts of the capital,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram, adding that rescue services and medics were on the scene.

The Kyiv region governor Oleksiy Kuleba said Russians “hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure facilities in (Kyiv) region. There is a threat of repeated shelling. Stay in shelters!”

The World Health Organisation warned Monday millions of Ukrainian lives were at risk this winter as the country’s power grid struggles under a barrage of Russian attacks.

AFP

Moscow Says On Alert After Crimea Hit By ‘Drone Attack’

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a BRICS Plus session involving the leaders of several invited states during the 14th BRICS summit - in virtual format via a video call at the Novo-Ogarevo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2022. Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik / AFP
FILE: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a BRICS Plus session involving the leaders of several invited states during the 14th BRICS summit – in virtual format via a video call at the Novo-Ogarevo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2022.
Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik / AFP

 

Ukraine’s Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula was targeted by a drone attack on Tuesday, Kremlin-installed authorities said, adding that Moscow’s forces there were “on alert”.

The strike came as Ukraine claimed another territorial victory and just days after Moscow said it was strengthening its position on the Crimean peninsula.

“There is an attack with drones,” the governor of the Sevastopol administrative region in Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram.

“Our air defence forces are working right now.”

He said two drones had “already been shot down”.

Razvozhayev said no civilian infrastructure had been damaged and called on residents to “remain calm.”

Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 after nationwide pro-democracy demonstrations that led to the ouster of Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president.

It used the peninsula, which hosts several important Russian military bases, as a launching pad for its February invasion of Ukraine.

But in recent months Ukrainian forces have been pushing a counter-offensive in the south towards Crimea and earlier this month reclaimed Kherson, the capital of the region bordering the annexed peninsula.

There have been several explosions at or near Russian military installations in Crimea since February, including a coordinated drone attack on a key Russian naval port at Sevastopol in October.

Last week the Moscow-aligned governor of territory, Sergei Aksyonov, said authorities were strengthening positions on the peninsula.

“Fortification work is being carried out… with the aim of guaranteeing the security of all Crimeans,” he said.

‘Not tired’

Ukraine said Tuesday it had recaptured almost the entire region of an isolated peninsula off the Black Sea, where fighting is ongoing.

“We are restoring full control over the region. We have three settlements left on the Kinburn Split to officially no longer be a region at war,” said Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaly Kim on social media.

The southern split jutting into the Black Sea is divided in two: in the west, as part of the Mykolaiv region and to the east as part of the Kherson region.

It is cut off from territory controlled by Ukraine’s forces by the Dnipro river, which flows through the Kherson region.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the European Union in an online press conference that its support was crucial, warning against “fatigue” towards the war.

“If we Ukrainians are not tired, the rest of Europe has neither moral nor political right to be tired,” he said.

Aid and gas

Kuleba called on the EU to implement a fresh round of sanctions against Russia, urging particular attention to measures that slow down and stop Russia’s missile industry.

“I call on my colleagues in the EU… to put aside any doubts or, as the fashionable phrase goes, “fatigue” and to start and quickly conclude the ninth sanctions package,” he said.

The US government said Tuesday it would provide another $4.5 billion in financial support for “supporting core government services.”

As much of Ukraine’s energy grid is pounded by Russian strikes, the World Bank has warned that the country faces “severe energy supply disruption and colder weather”.

Meanwhile Russian energy giant Gazprom accused Ukraine of diverting natural gas supplies transiting to Moldova, and threatened to curtail deliveries through a key pipeline to Europe in response.

The allegations marked the latest point of tension over energy deliveries between Kyiv, European capitals and Moscow — which has reduced consignments to Europe in response to Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Ukraine denied the allegations, saying that all the gas volumes bound to Moldovan consumers have been transferred “in the full amount”.

AFP

Nine Killed In Suspected Gas Blast In Far Russia

This handout photograph released on November 19, 2022 from the Telegram account of the governor of Russia’s Sakhalin region shows rescuers working at the explosion site in the village of Tymovskoye, Sakhalin Region. (Photo by HANDOUT / TELEGRAM / LIMARENKO_OFFICIAL / AFP)

 

A suspected gas explosion early Saturday in a five-storey residential building killed nine people in Russia’s southeastern Sakhalin island, the local governor said.

The blast occurred in a brick building built in the 1980s in the village of Tymovskoye, TASS news agency reported.

“Nine people were killed, including four children,” the region’s governor Valery Limarenko told the Rossia 24 television channel.

READ ALSO: Russia Accuses Ukraine Of Executing More Than 10 ‘Prisoners Of War’

The emergencies ministry said preliminary information pointed to a gas leak, adding that many storeys had collapsed.

Images aired on television showed a white building with brown balconies that was partly demolished.

The emergencies ministry said 60 rescuers had been deployed.

AFP