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Video shows father celebrating daughter’s birthday party before he was killed in rocket attack

A heartbreaking video has shown a Ukrainian father celebrating a birthday party with his daughters before he was killed in a brutal Russian rocket attack.

Photographs showing their wrecked apartment block have gone viral, with a huge blast hole in the side of the building revealing the family’s yellow kitchen inside.

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in the footage from the birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky, 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family.

Authorities said the death toll from the devastating strike in southeastern Ukraine climbed to 41 on Tuesday after the body of a child was pulled from the rubble.

 

A heartbreaking video has shown a Ukrainian father celebrating a birthday party with his daughters before he was killed in a brutal Russian rocket attack. Photographs showing the damage to their building have gone viral, with a huge blast hole in the side of the apartment block revealing the family’s distinctive yellow kitchen inside (pictured)

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in footage from a birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky (pictured with his daughters), 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family

The same distinctive kitchen could be seen in footage from a birthday party, in which well-known Ukrainian boxing coach Mikhailo Korenovsky (pictured with his daughters), 39, celebrated the birthday of one of his children with his close-knit family

Another 25 residents of the city of Dnipro were still missing, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, whose capital is Dnipro.

Emergency crews have cleared about 90% of the rubble during a 63-hour search since Saturday’s strike, he said. There are 79 wounded people, he added, with 28 of them hospitalized and 10 in serious condition. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced the missile strike as a war crime. 

Today, residents gathered to get warm drinks and food next to the partially collapsed Soviet-style residential building that was ripped open by the strike on Saturday.

On Monday, a video revealed how the strike shattered the lives of a happy and loving family who lived in the building that was hit by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

In the footage, Korenovsky is shown recently in his top-floor apartment in happier times as the young family hosted the birthday party.

The head trainer of the Dnipro boxing team and a former pupil of the Odessa Boxing School died in the same flat, which the Russian cruise missile struck.  

A photograph from the scene shows the carnage in the yellow-coloured kitchen – where earlier the birthday party had been held and his daughter was seen blowing out pink candles on a large birthday cake – after the missile hit.

The striking image – looking into the room through a wall that has been totally destroyed, as if it is a film set – is a stark contrast between the past life of Korenovsky and his family, and the destruction wrought by the Russian invaders.

On the far side of the room, the yellow kitchen is seen surprisingly intact. The same cupboards seen in the birthday party video still stand. Some of the drawers and cupboard doors are ajar, but are otherwise still standing.

Dishes sit on the counter next to the sink, ready to be cleaned. Oven gloves hang next to a tall cupboard, which Korenovsky was seen standing next to in the footage while picking up one of his two daughters.

On the near side of the room, a bowl of fruit sits on the table and two grey chairs sit either side of that. A large grey fridge stands resolutely in the corner.

The near wall running the full length of the kitchen, however, has been totally blown away in the strike. Glass and rubble cover the floor while cables hang down from the flat above. A door to the left – which once led from the kitchen to another room that no longer exists – has been blown inwards.

Other photographs from the site appeared to show other rooms inside the family’s apartment. An entire section on the building was totally destroyed in the strike, taking a large part of the apartment with it.

The toll from the devastating missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro was expected to rise past 40 on Tuesday as rescuers searched the rubble for 25 people still missing. Pictured: Rescuers on Monday work on the destroyed residential building

The toll from the devastating missile strike on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro was expected to rise past 40 on Tuesday as rescuers searched the rubble for 25 people still missing. Pictured: Rescuers on Monday work on the destroyed residential building

Emergency personnel work at the site where an apartment block was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine January 16, 2023. The yellow kitchen of Korenovsky's top-floor apartment can be seen in the top-right

Emergency personnel work at the site where an apartment block was heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine January 16, 2023. The yellow kitchen of Korenovsky’s top-floor apartment can be seen in the top-right

Pictured: The family's apartment can be seen in this photograph of the destroyed apartment block, taken on Monday. The wall running the full length of the kitchen has been totally blown away in the strike, exposing the kitchen to the outside

Pictured: The family’s apartment can be seen in this photograph of the destroyed apartment block, taken on Monday. The wall running the full length of the kitchen has been totally blown away in the strike, exposing the kitchen to the outside

Pictured: The kitchen is pictured at the destroyed apartment block hit by a rocket launched by Russian occupiers during a massive missile attack on Ukraine Saturday

Pictured: The kitchen is pictured at the destroyed apartment block hit by a rocket launched by Russian occupiers during a massive missile attack on Ukraine Saturday

Korenovsky’s two tragic daughters Margarita, 12, and her younger sister Marusya, were reportedly outside but nearby when the Russian missile changed their lives forever. They are now wounded in intensive care, according to local reports.

His wife Olga, 38, a personal trainer and nutritionist, also survived the blast.

In the aftermath of the strike, the bereft mother posted: ‘Instead of this hole, this is where my apartment used to be, in which I lived with my family for nine years.

‘At the time of the explosion, my children and I were out for a walk… and my husband came home after a competition, ate, and was due to come out and join us.

‘There is now no connection with him, either among the living or the dead.’

Zelensky vowed to bring those responsible to justice, saying it’s ‘a fundamental task’ for Ukraine and its Western allies.

‘This strike at Dnipro, as well as other similar strikes, falls, in particular, under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,’ he said in Monday’s video address.

‘And we will use all available opportunities – both national and international – to ensure that all Russian murderers, everyone who gives and executes orders on missile terror against our people, face legal sentences. And to ensure that they serve their punishment,’ he said. 

Pictured: Mykhailo Korenovsky is seen working as a boxing trainer. His two tragic daughters Margarita, 12, and her younger sister Marusya, were reportedly outside but nearby when the Russian missile changed their lives forever. Reports say they are in intensive care

Pictured: Mykhailo Korenovsky is seen working as a boxing trainer. His two tragic daughters Margarita, 12, and her younger sister Marusya, were reportedly outside but nearby when the Russian missile changed their lives forever. Reports say they are in intensive care

Korenovsky's wife Olga, 38, a personal trainer and nutritionist, also survived the blast

Korenovsky’s wife Olga, 38, a personal trainer and nutritionist, also survived the blast

Flowers are placed at a memorial as emergency workers continue to search the remains of a residential building that was struck by a Russian missile Saturday on January 16, 2023

Flowers are placed at a memorial as emergency workers continue to search the remains of a residential building that was struck by a Russian missile Saturday on January 16, 2023

Deputy head of the presidency Kyrylo Tymoshenko said: ‘The rescue operation, the demolition of the rubble, will not end until the bodies of all the dead are found. So far, 40 people have died.’

The Kremlin claimed its forces were not responsible and pointed to an unsubstantiated theory circulating on social media that Ukrainian air defence systems had caused the damage.

‘The Russian armed forces do not strike residential buildings or social infrastructure. They strike military targets,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting and hitting civilian homes and infrastructure, often blaming Kyiv – despite ever-mounting evidence to suggest otherwise.

EU presidency holder Sweden condemned the attack ‘in the strongest terms’, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson telling reporters that ‘intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes’.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the strike, with his spokesperson calling it ‘another example of a suspected violation of the laws of war’.

The U.K. Defence Ministry said Tuesday that the weekend barrage of long-range missiles, the first of its kind in two weeks, targeted Ukraine’s power grid.

But the ministry identified the missile that slammed into the Dnipro apartment building as an anti-ship missile that ‘is notoriously inaccurate when used against ground targets as its radar guidance system is poor at differentiating targets in urban areas.’

Similar missiles were used in other incidents that caused high civilian casualties, it said, including a strike on a shopping mall in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk last June.

Such incidents have helped stiffen international support for Ukraine as it battles to fend off the Kremlin’s invasion. The winter has brought a slowdown in fighting, but military analysts say a new push by both sides is likely once the weather improves.

Rescuers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine operate at the site of a missile strike and a high-rise residential building destruction on January 15, 2023 in Dnipro

Rescuers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine operate at the site of a missile strike and a high-rise residential building destruction on January 15, 2023 in Dnipro

Rescuers use special equipment in searching people trapped under the rubble of a high-rise residential building hit by a missile on January 15. 25 people are still missing

Rescuers use special equipment in searching people trapped under the rubble of a high-rise residential building hit by a missile on January 15. 25 people are still missing

To withstand Russian attacks, Ukraine has been pressing Western backers to supply it with advanced tanks, in particular the German-designed Leopard.

Berlin has been heavily criticised over its stuttering response to the war in Ukraine.

After months of criticism – and a series of gaffes – German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday. 

Her resignation comes days before the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which coordinates arms supplies to Kyiv, is due to meet in Germany.

Britain this weekend pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, which would make it the first Western country to supply the heavy tanks Kyiv has been calling for.

Putin on Monday slammed Kyiv’s ‘destructive’ policies that ‘bet on the intensification of hostilities with the support of Western sponsors who are ramping up the supplies of weapons.’ Peskov told reporters that ‘these tanks are burning and will burn.’

A large team of Ukrainian ministers and officials headed by First Lady Olena Zelenska meanwhile began a major effort at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to lobby for greater Western aid and weapons deliveries.

‘That’s why I’m here,’ Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, told reporters when asked about the need for fresh help. That’s why it’s very important to talk directly… it’s very important to have a personal connection.’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock meanwhile called for a special tribunal to prosecute Russian leaders, as Moscow faced war crimes accusations over the Dnipro attack. ‘We need to voice a clear message to the Russian leadership here and now that a war of aggression will not go unpunished,’ Baerbock said.

Calls have grown for a way to try to punish Russian leaders for their crimes, as the Hague-based International Criminal Court cannot do so under its rules.

Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the United States to learn how to use the Patriot system, the Pentagon’s most advanced air defence system.

Washington promised Kyiv a Patriot battery in a significant victory for Ukraine.

The Patriot missiles can shoot down cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft at a height significantly higher than the systems currently in place.       

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