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Russia used a 6-ton X-22 missile designed to sink US aircraft carriers to blow up Ukrainian apartments killing 21 civilians

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RUSSIA used a six-ton ​​missile designed to sink aircraft carriers to blast Ukrainian civilians.

At least 21 people have been killed – including a 15-year-old girl – and 40 are still missing as Vladimir Putin’s forces blew up a building in Dnipro.

Huge X-22 missiles are designed to sink warshipsCredit: UKRAINE MOD
The X-22 carried by a strategic bomber

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The X-22 carried by a strategic bomberCredit: Alamy
Rescuers clear rubble in Dnipro

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Rescuers clear rubble in DniproCredit: AP
Ukrainian soldiers carry the body of a man who was killed in the strike

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Ukrainian soldiers carry the body of a man who was killed in the strikeCredit: AP
A woman sits in the ruins of her destroyed apartment in Dnipro

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A woman sits in the ruins of her destroyed apartment in DniproCredit: Arsen Dzodzaev/Hromadske

Ukrainian officials said the Russians used a massive X-22 anti-ship missile – also known as the Kh-22 – to level the apartments.

The missile is a six-ton ​​rocket with a one-ton warhead that can be fitted with a nuclear bomb.

Russian engineers created the weapon during the Cold War.

It was designed with the explicit intention of being used to sink large warships such as US aircraft carriers.

They are known as “carrier killers”.

But instead, Putin’s twisted forces are pulling them against innocent people in their own homes.

Flying towards their target at speeds of up to 3,500 mph, the land or air missile has potentially devastating firepower.

But instead of being used against warships, the Russians instead fire them at civilians.

Ukrainian Defense Chief Andriy Zagorodnyuk said: “[Kh-22’s were] originally designed in the 1960s to attack air carriers.

“But the Russians decided to use against civilians.”

Russian Tu-22m3 strategic bombers of the 52nd Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment reportedly launched the five missiles at Dnipro.

And one of them hit a nine-story building, completely razing a section and leaving civilians buried alive.

Ukrainian officials said their military lacked the capability to shoot down the Kh-22s.

In a statement, the Air Force said: “The Ukrainian Armed Forces do not have any firepower capable of shooting down this type of missile.

“Since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression, more than 210 such missiles have been launched into the territory of Ukraine.

“None of them were shot down by air defense systems.”

They called for new anti-aircraft systems to help bring down the missiles and protect their civilians.

Ukrainian regional council head Mykola Lukashuk said 21 people died and 40 were still missing after the strike.

Rescuers fought through the night trying to free a woman trapped under rubble after hearing her voice, the state emergency service said.

The strike destroyed dozens of apartments in the Dnipro building, leaving hundreds homeless

“Rescue operations are continuing. The fate of more than 40 people remains unknown,” regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday pleaded for more Western military weapons, saying Russian “terror” could only be stopped on the battlefield.

“What do we need for this? Those weapons that are in the warehouses of our partners,” Zelensky said.

A firefighter stands amid the wreckage as they search for survivors

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A firefighter stands amid the wreckage as they search for survivorsCredit: Reuters
Rescuers carry a body found among the debris

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Rescuers carry a body found among the debrisCredit: Reuters
The fire rages as the nine-story block was leveled by the Russian missile

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The fire rages as the nine-story block was leveled by the Russian missileCredit: EPA

It came after the UK pledged to supply Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, becoming the first western country to supply the heavy tanks.

The tanks will arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, Downing Street said, adding that Britain would also train Ukraine’s armed forces in their use.

The Russian Embassy in Britain warned that “sending tanks to the conflict zone, far from ending hostilities, will only serve to intensify combat operations, causing more casualties, including among the civilian population.

Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor, said it found Russian missile debris on its territory after Saturday’s strikes.

“Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine is once again having a direct impact on Moldova,” President Maia Sandu tweeted, posting photos of the wreckage.

“We strongly condemn today’s escalated attacks.”

Ukraine’s energy facilities were still reeling on Sunday from what was a 12th wave of large-scale Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in recent months.

The attacks targeted power infrastructure in Kharkiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia and Kyiv regions, Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

On Sunday, operator Ukrenergo said energy infrastructure was “being restored” but that the attacks had “increased the energy deficit”.

“The period of outages may increase,” he acknowledged.

On Saturday, Ukrenergo said emergency power cuts had been introduced in “a number of regions”.

Zelensky said Ukraine shot down 20 of more than 30 Russian missiles fired.

“Unfortunately, the energy infrastructure was also affected,” he said, adding that the regions of Kyiv and Kharkiv, which are home to the country’s second eponymous city, suffered the most.

The strikes came amid uncertainty over the fate of Soledar, a salt-mining outpost Russia claimed to have captured, against Ukraine’s denials.

Both sides conceded heavy casualties in the battle for the city.

On Sunday, the American Institute for the Study of War said that “it is highly unlikely that Ukrainian forces will still occupy positions in the settlement of Soledar itself.”

The industrial city with a pre-war population of around 10,000 was reduced to rubble by intense fighting.

Ukraine’s military governor in the eastern region of Donetsk insisted on Saturday that “Soledar is controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.”

“Fighting continues inside and outside the city,” he added.

On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had “completed the release” of Soledar the day before.

Capturing Soledar would be a key gain as Russian forces move towards what has been their main target since October – the transport hub near Bakhmut.

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