It is expected that the number killed in the weekend strike is will increase, even as rescue workers scrambled to reach survivors. The youngest confirmed victim was a 15-year-old girl.
(Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel Here. 19FortyFive publishes original videos every day.)
Emergency crews, who had worked through the night in frigid temperatures, acknowledged there was little hope of finding anyone else alive in the rubble of what once had been a multi-story residential building that had been home to about 1,700 people.
The reported death toll makes it the deadliest attack in one place since a September 30 strike in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.
The City of Dnipro has issued a three-day mourning period to honor those killed in the attack.
Carrier Killer Hit an Apartment Building
According to reports, the building was hit by a Russian Kh-22 missile, a Soviet-era anti-ship missile that has been described as an “aircraft carrier killer.” Five missiles had been launched from Tu-22M long-range bombers operating over the Sea of Azov and from the Kursk Oblast.
On Saturday, one of the bombers launched the Kh-22 around 3:30 pm local time.
Ukrainian radar detected the approximate launch site, altitude, and flight speed.
The large, long-range anti-ship missile was developed by MKB Raduga in the Soviet Union for use against aircraft carrier battle groups. It can be armed with either a conventional or nuclear warhead.
The maximum range of the Kh-22 is 600 km (372 miles), but it is considered to be highly inaccurate.
The missile used in Saturday’s strike was likely armed with a 950 kg (2,000 pound) warhead.
Western officials have suggested the use of such weapons to target a densely populated area is a war crime. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in the war.
“Eternal memory to all whose lives were taken by terror! The world must stop evil. Debris clearance in Dnipro continues. All services are working. We’re fighting for every person, every life. We’ll find everyone involved in terror. Everyone will bear responsibility. Utmost,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said via a tweet while sharing a video of the devastation.
Nearly 2,000 of the Kh-22 missiles were produced during the Cold War – but some 423 that had been in the Ukrainian arsenal were scrapped after Kyiv decommissioned its Tu-22M bomber fleet.
Though it is unclear how many of the missiles Russia may have in its arsenal, these would be considered fairly expensive weapons to use against civilian infrastructure as the missiles have a reported cost of around $1 million.
Yet, it is still believed that about 210 of the supersonic missiles have been employed against Ukrainian targets.
Worrisome for Kyiv is the fact that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have no weapons capable of countering the Kh-22. None of the missiles employed by the Russian military to date are believed to have been successfully shot down. The U.S.-made Patriot, which Kyiv is now on track to receive, would be seen as a potential game changer as it is considered quite able to intercept the Kh-22.
As Russia’s forces have been driven back on the battlefield, it has increased its attacks on civilian urban centers and infrastructure. It fired 33 cruise missiles on Saturday, of which some 21 were shot down. The terror campaign is likely to continue.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.