Even two days after the devastating impact of a Russian missile on a residential building in the industrial city of Dnipro, the many civilian casualties remain the dominant issue in Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to punish the culprits and called for more weapons from the West, citing Britain's pledge to supply tanks as a positive example. The Russian leadership denied any responsibility for the shelling of the apartment building.
Zelenskyj praises British tank deliveries
Zelenskyy referred to Britain's pledge of aid to Ukraine, which other countries should follow. "A new defense assistance package has been announced - just what is needed: main battle tanks, other armored vehicles and artillery," Ukraine's president said in his daily video address last night.
He awaits decisions on further arms deliveries from the World Economic Forum in Davos, which starts today, and from the conference of the so-called Ukraine contact group of the country's western allies, which meets on Friday in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate.
According to Zelensky, around 40 people died when a Russian missile hit the apartment building in Dnipro over the weekend. About two dozen are still missing. Ukraine will do everything possible to find the guilty and bring them to justice, Zelenskyy said. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned any attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in a statement as contrary to international law.
The Kremlin denied any responsibility for the momentous rocket hit and the many fatalities. "Russia's armed forces are not attacking residential buildings or objects of social infrastructure," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday. Representatives of the Ukrainian side said themselves that the "tragedy" at the weekend was caused by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Peskov was obviously alluding to statements made by the adviser in the Ukrainian presidential office, Oleksiy Arestovych. He had named the launch of a Russian missile by anti-aircraft defense as a possible cause of the disaster.
Unknown people lay flowers for victims of Dnipro in Moscow
Unknown people laid flowers at a memorial in Moscow after the devastating rocket hit. "In Moscow, people brought flowers and toys in memory of the dead from Dnipro," the opposition Internet portal "Astra" reported yesterday. The monument in the center of the Russian capital commemorates the Ukrainian poet Lessja Ukrajinka. There was also a framed photo of the destroyed apartment building in Dnipro.
The most violent wave of Russian attacks since the turn of the year was again directed primarily against the Ukrainian energy infrastructure at the weekend. President Zelenskyy then accused the people of Russia of "cowardly silence" about the attacks.
Selenskyj insists on speedy delivery of arms
He warned the West to hurry to deliver the tanks desired by Kyiv. Russia's attack on Dnipro and the attackers' renewed attempts to seize the initiative in the war required "new solutions" and quicker decisions. Zelenskyy pointed out the strong Russian troop concentrations in the Donbass, especially around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar, but also in southern Ukraine. "We will see what Russia is preparing here," he said.
Phone call with Erdogan: Putin raises allegations against Ukraine
Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blaming the Ukrainian side for the recent intensification of fighting. The Kremlin announced yesterday after the phone call that it was counting on "with the help of Western sponsors" to intensify the fighting. Kyiv is showing a lack of willingness to negotiate - for example with the rejection of a ceasefire ordered by Putin for the period of the Orthodox Christmas celebrations in early January.
Ukraine had dismissed the move from Moscow as hypocritical, and many international observers also spoke of Putin's purely propaganda gesture. The shooting continued from both sides. Ukraine has repeatedly emphasized that it is willing to negotiate - but only if Russian soldiers return territory occupied in violation of international law.
At the suggestion of the Turkish side, Putin's talks with Erdogan also dealt with further prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin said. The newspaper "Hürriyet" reported, citing the Turkish ombudsman Seref Malkoc, that the exchange involved around 800 Ukrainians and 200 Russians. Details on this were not known.
What is important today
This afternoon (3:00 p.m.) President Selenskyj will be talking to students from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) and the Humboldt University in Berlin - via the internet.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda wants to make the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine an issue at the World Economic Forum in Davos. According to a report by the Polish news agency PAP yesterday from his environment. At the meeting in the Swiss Alps, Duda wanted to solicit support for the project to deliver Leopard tanks in the European network.