Death toll from Russian rocket attack on Ukraine housing block rises to 30

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Rescuers work at a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, Ukraine. Reuters

The death toll from a Russian rocket attack that hit an apartment block in eastern Ukraine over the weekend rose to 30 on Monday while rescuers searched for survivors in the ruins, an official from the president’s office said.

Brick by brick, rescuers picked through a huge mound of rubble that remained of a collapsed five-storey block struck late on Saturday in the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk province.

A Reuters reporter saw rescuers lift a survivor from the ruins to a stretcher and carry away the bodies of two people in white bags. Soldiers also helped with the rescue effort.

Nine people have been rescued so far, the State Emergency Service said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said rescuers had cleared 65% of the rubble, weighing around 170 tonnes, by early evening on Monday.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February in what it calls a special military operation, denies targeting civilians.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday “high-precision ground-based weapons…have destroyed the temporary deployment point” of a Ukrainian territorial defence unit in Chasiv Yar.

Russia is expected to focus the brunt of its assault on eastern Ukraine in Donetsk province after claiming the capture of neighbouring Luhansk. Together, the two provinces make up the wider Donbas industrial region.

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