A new wave of missile strikes has begun across Ukraine. At least 12 people were killed in a Russian attack on an apartment block in the eastern city of Dnipro on Saturday. Several other cities were also affected, including Kiev, Kharkiv and Odessa.

Much of Ukraine is now under an emergency blackout following missile attacks on electricity infrastructure in several cities.

Earlier, the UK said it would send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help defend the country.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Challengers are the main battle tanks of the British Army. This will help Kiev’s forces push back Russian forces.

Russia responded by saying that supplying Ukraine with more weapons would intensify Russian operations and cause more civilian casualties.

Then on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the day Ukrainians celebrated the Old or Orthodox New Year, said Russia’s attacks on civilian targets could only be stopped if Ukraine’s Western partners provided the necessary weapons.

What is needed for this? Weapons that are in the depots of our partners and that our soldiers have been waiting for,’ Zlensky said in his nightly video address.

He also said his forces shot down more than 20 of the 30 Russian missiles.

Ukrainian officials said the devastating attack in Dnipro hit the entrance to a nine-story building. Several floors were reduced to smoldering rubble and 73 people, including 14 children, were injured in what would be the worst attack in months.

A large crowd gathered to watch the rescue operation at the site of the attack, while others joined rescue workers in a desperate search for survivors. There were human chains of volunteers clearing the rubble and thick clouds of dust and smoke.

In the speech, Zelensky said that the clearing of debris in Dnipro will continue throughout the night. We are fighting for every person, every life.

Officials say that 37 people including six children have been rescued from the building so far.

There is still no information on why the apartment block was destroyed in this way, as it is some distance from the nearest electricity facility.

(15 January/FA)