An explosion caused by a Russian missile strike near the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Saturday damaged a two-story building and injured at least 20 people, five of them children, Ukraine's State Emergency Service said.
Three of the injured children are in serious condition, while 17 people in total are hospitalized, said the regional governor, Serhiy Lysak. Rescue teams are pulling residents from under the rubble, Lysak said.
"Once again, Russia proves it is a terrorist state," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram.
Pictures from the explosion posted on social media showed rescue teams working at a shattered, smoldering building amid heaps of twisted building materials.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy reminded everyone of the importance of thanking all of those who have made Ukrainian resistance against Russian invaders possible and effective.
“Our defense, our active actions, and the independence of Ukraine are not something abstract. These are very particular people, particular actions of particular heroes, thanks to which Ukraine exists and Ukraine will exist,” he said.
He added, “it's important to hear words of gratitude when you fight for your people like this.”
Bomb shelters unfit
About a quarter of Ukraine’s bomb shelters have been inspected and were found either unavailable or unfit to protect civilians, officials said Saturday.
According to the Ukrainian interior ministry, of the more than 4,800 shelters it inspected, 252 were locked and 893 more were “unfit for use.” Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said civilian safety is compromised by unsuitable shelters during airstrikes in Ukraine.
The results of the inspection were announced just days after three people, including a mother and her 9-year-old daughter, were killed while trying to enter a locked shelter in the early hours of Thursday.
The husband of another woman killed by missile debris told reporters his wife was trying to get into a shelter in a medical facility, which turned out to be closed.
The Kyiv regional prosecutor’s office reported that four people were detained in a criminal probe into one of the deaths on Thursday. The prosecutor’s office said that one person, a security guard, who had failed to unlock the doors, remained under arrest, while three others, including a local official, had been placed under house arrest.
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The prosecutor’s office says the suspects face up to eight years in prison for negligence leading to a person’s death.
In a Telegram message on Saturday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said city authorities have logged “more than a thousand" complaints regarding locked, dilapidated or insufficient air-raid shelters within a day of launching an online feedback service.
The interior ministry said that more than 5,300 volunteers, including emergency workers, police officers and local officials, would continue to inspect shelters across the country.
Zelenskyy: Counteroffensive 'will succeed'
President Zelenskyy says Ukraine is ready to launch a counteroffensive against Russia.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said, “We strongly believe that we will succeed.”
“I don’t know how long it will take,” he said, “but … we are ready.” He said he wished he had more Western weapons, “but we can’t wait for months.”
Zelenskyy did not reveal a date for the counteroffensive.
In addition, Zelenskyy said he is a bit apprehensive about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in 2024 because a less supportive administration could win.