Emergency crews pulled the body of a toddler from the rubble in a pre-dawn search for survivors on Saturday of a Russian missile strike that tore through an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.
The missile was one of what Ukrainian authorities said were 16 that eluded air defenses among the 76 missiles fired Friday in the latest Russian attack targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure, part of Moscow’s strategy to leave Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in the dark and cold this winter.
Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko of the Dnipropetrovsk region, where Kryvyi Rih is located, wrote on the Telegram social media app that “rescuers retrieved the body of a 1-1/2-year-old boy from under the rubble of a house destroyed by a Russian rocket.” In all, four people were killed in the strike, and 13 injured — four of them children — authorities said.
Reznichenko said the pounding from Russian forces continued overnight, damaging power lines and houses in the cities and towns of Nikopol, Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka, which are across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
By Saturday morning, Ukraine’s military leadership said Russian forces had fired more than a score of other missiles since the barrage a day earlier. It did not say how many of those might have been stopped by the air defenses.
Friday’s onslaught, which pummeled many parts of central, eastern and southern Ukraine, constituted one of the biggest assaults on the capital, Kyiv, since Russia began the war by attacking Ukraine on Feb. 24. Kyiv came under fire from about 40 missiles on Friday, authorities said, nearly all intercepted by air defenses.
Utility crews scrambled to patch up damaged power and water systems.
Two-thirds of homes had their electricity restored, and all had access to water again, according to Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, who made the announcement on Saturday. The subway system, which had been used as a shelter the day before, has also resumed operations.
Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv province, announced on Saturday that all of the region’s electricity had been restored, including in the second-largest city in the nation, Kharkiv. Ten S-300 missile attacks on Friday had knocked out the electricity.
A total of 596 miners in Kryvyi Rih were eventually rescued after becoming trapped underground due to missile strikes, according to the mayor late on Friday.
An official from the Moscow-installed authorities of Ukraine’s southeast Zaporizhzhia province announced on Saturday that construction of a protective dome had started at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. According to Vladimir Rogov, the dome would defend against improvised explosive devices and shell fragments carried by drones. The largest nuclear power station in Europe, which is under Russian control, has been repeatedly shelled. For months, its six reactors have been off-line.
In order to prevent any nuclear accidents, the International Atomic Energy Agency recently announced plans to station nuclear safety and security experts at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. A permanent mission from the U.N. nuclear watchdog has already been sent to the Zaporizhzhia plant.