Russia says it launched missile strikes against Ukraine on Saturday
(Reuters) – Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday its forces had launched a wave of missile strikes against Ukrainian military and infrastructure sites the previous day.
The ministry did not mention the city of Dnipro as a specific target of the strikes. Ukrainian authorities said more than 20 people were killed in a strike on an apartment complex in Dnipro on Saturday.
“On 14 January 2023, a missile strike was launched against Ukraine’s military command and control system and energy facilities,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
“All designated targets were hit. The objective of the strike has been achieved,” it added.
The death toll from the strike on Dnipro – the most deadly Russian attack on civilians in weeks – was likely to climb higher on Sunday as rescue workers raced to pull survivors from the debris and authorities reported several dozen people still missing.
Russia also said its troops had made progress towards the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, which has been the focus of Russian attacks for months. It said its troops had advanced towards the northern outskirts of the city.
Russia reported its first major territorial gain in months last week, when it said its troops captured the town of Soledar, just a few kilometres north of Bakhmut, after months of brutal fighting for the small town.
Ukraine has rejected Russia’s claims to have taken Soledar and insisted on Saturday that its forces were battling to hold it, but officials acknowledged the situation was difficult, with street fighting raging and Russian forces advancing from various directions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin heralded Russia’s latest battlefield gains in remarks on Sunday.
Russia last week announced the latest shake-up to its military command, putting Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff, in day-to-day charge of the military campaign.
Saturday’s missile strikes – the largest Russian attacks so far in 2023 – suggest Russia will continue with its strategy of attempting to target Ukraine’s energy and infrastructure networks.
(Reporting by Jake Cordell; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Frances Kerry)