“The closer I got, the more it looked like hell”

In Dnipro, there is grief, exhaustion and anger.

Early on Saturday afternoon, as families relaxed at home in the central Ukrainian city, a Russian cruise missile struck a nine-story apartment building overlooking a park near the river, killing at least 35 people.

The core of that building is now gone, transformed into a mountain of jumbled concrete. Apartments were sliced in half when the missile — with a warhead of nearly one metric ton — penetrated all the way to the basement.

Svitlana Lishchynska, who lives in a neighboring building, said the impact shook everything from the walls of her home.

“At the same moment, my daughter, who had gone for a walk with her friend, called and told me about the loud explosions. I ran to her. The closer I got, the more it looked like hell,” she said.

“When I got there, I froze — the two entrances simply did not exist anymore. They had turned into a pile of concrete and a gaping hole. It was a picture of the apocalypse. Everyone was in a kind of stupor, because it was impossible to believe that this was happening to us.”

Some 36 hours after the strike, smoke was still drifting into the frozen air as heat was released from its impact. Rescue crews clambered over the debris, their hopes of finding anyone else alive dimming by the hour.

Up to 35 people remain unaccounted for, according to Ukrainian officials. The last person to be rescued was heard calling out soon after midnight on Saturday. It took nine hours to reach her, by which time she had severe hypothermia.

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