Russian President Vladimir Putin said the dynamics of the war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” are positive, with everything going according to the defense ministry’s plan.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday said Russian forces had captured Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region the previous day, after several days of conflicting reports over whether the town had fallen under Russian control after months of fierce fighting
Ukraine has not conceded defeat in Soledar, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying Sunday evening that “the battle for Soledar, for Bakhmut, for the whole Donetsk region, for the Luhansk region continues without any respite, without any stop.”
Ukraine is reeling from a major Russian missile attack on the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine on Saturday in which 40 people were killed after an apartment block was hit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday evening that a rescue operation continued as debris was cleared at the site of the strike. It was the single deadliest attack on Ukrainians since the summer began, according to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project.
Dutch, German ministers condemn child abductions in Ukraine
The German and Dutch foreign ministers on Monday condemned the deportation by Russians of thousands of Ukrainian children, calling it a deliberate policy of cruel and inhumane abductions that is tearing families apart.
Since Moscow launched its war in Ukraine nearly a year ago, Russians have been accused of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-held territories to raise them as their own. At least 1,000 children were seized from schools and orphanages in the Kherson region during Russia’s eight-month occupation of the area, local authorities say. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
Russia claims that these children don’t have parents or guardians to look after them, or that they can’t be reached. But the AP found that officials have deported Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-held territories without consent, lied to them that they weren’t wanted by their parents, used them for propaganda, and given them Russian families and citizenship.
“Russia must account for the whereabouts of these children,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at a joint press conference with her Dutch colleague Wopke Hoekstra in The Hague.
“This deliberate Russian policy is tearing families apart and traumatizing children,” Hoekstra said. “It is cruel and it is inhumane. And let me be clear that children abducted by Russia must be returned to their own country as soon as possible.”
The death toll from a weekend Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro has risen to 40, authorities said Monday, as Western analysts pointed to indications the Kremlin was preparing for a drawn-out war in Ukraine after almost 11 months of fighting.
About 1,700 people lived in the multi-story building, and search and rescue crews have worked nonstop since Saturday’s strike to locate victims and survivors in the wreckage. The regional administration said 39 people have been rescued so far and 30 more remained missing. Authorities said at least 75 were wounded.
Rescuers work on a residential building destroyed after a missile strike, in Dnipro on January 16, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The reported death toll made it the deadliest single attack on Ukrainian civilians since before the summer, according to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project. Residents said the apartment tower did not house any military facilities.
he European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called the strike, and others like it, “inhumane aggression” because it directly targeted civilians. “There will be no impunity for these crimes,” he said in a tweet Sunday.
Asked about the strike Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian military doesn’t target residential buildings and suggested the Dnipro building was hit as a result of Ukrainian air defense actions.