Dramatic moment tank blasts apartment block in Mariupol as Putin's troops continue assault on besieged city

A TANK blasted an apartment block in Mariupol as Vladimir Putin's troops continued their assault on the city.

A huge fireball was pictured from the tall building of flats after the war machine struck it.

The inferno was right next to a pylon as smoke billowed out and debris is seen flying from the building.

A Russian army tank was also seen moving on the outskirts of the city in desolate streets.

Russian airstrikes also targeted for the first time the eastern city of Dnipro, a major industrial hub and Ukraines fourth-largest city, situated on the Dnieper River.

Three strikes hit, killing at least one person, according to Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Heraschenko.

Firefighters were seen dousing a flaming building, and ash fell on bloodied rubble.

Smoke billowed over shattered concrete where buildings once stood.

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In another potentially ominous development, new satellite photos appeared to show the massive Russian convoy outside the Ukrainian capital had split up and fanned out.

Howitzers were towed into position to open fire, and armored units were seen in towns near the Antonov Airport north of the city, according to Maxar Technologies, the company that produced the images.

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It comes after desperate relatives were burying their dead in mass graves and fighting for food scraps in the city besieged by Vladimir Putin’s merciless war machine.

Hundreds of thousands out of the half a million civilians surrounded in the port of Mariupol have no food, water, heat, electricity, or medical care, Red Cross officials have warned.

Despot Putin has refused to allow aid convoys through and shops have been stripped bare by looters. Parents already trying to cope with constant bombardments and bone-chilling temperatures now face the nightmare of watching their children starve.

Details are scarce as phone lines have been cut and masts jammed for days. But Red Cross worker Sasha Volkov managed to get a message out by satellite phone.

He said: “All the shops and pharmacies were looted four to five days ago. Some people still have food but I’m not sure for how long it will last.

“Many people report having no food for children. People started to attack each other for food.”

The Sun told how invaders even carried out an airstrike on a hospital’s maternity unit — killing at least three people, including an infant.

Hospitals are only partly functioning as the city council sends them rations of fuel. They have run out of cancer drugs, painkillers and insulin for diabetics and blood supplies are low.

A brutal Arctic blast made temperatures feel like minus 12C last night and it is not expected to get above freezing until Monday.

Dramatic moment tank blasts apartment block in Mariupol as Putin's troops continue assault on besieged city

Disease is ripping through bomb shelters as families cower day and night in damp, crowded conditions without running water for toilets.

Mr Volkov said: “We have started to get sick, many of us, because of the humidity and cold that we have. We tried to achieve hygiene standards as much as possible but not always actually possible.”

He said more than 65 people — staff and neighbours and their families — have crammed into the Red Cross office. Only mothers and young children can fit in its underground shelter to sleep.

Children over 12 have to take their chances with the adults.

The building’s generators run for four hours a day, letting people charge phones to use as torches.

Yulia Karaulen, who left Mariupol on a business trip a few days before the war started, has had only one brief call with her husband and ten-year-old daughter.

Speaking from a refugee camp, she told The Sun: “My daughter said that she loves me. My husband said people are dying.”

Footage of dozens of bodies being dumped in a trench emerged yesterday as officials said it was too dangerous to dig individual graves due to heavy shelling.

Ukrainian MP Dmytro Gurin said his elderly parents were trapped in the city, melting snow to drink. He said: “Please understand me that this is not a shelter with light, water and a toilet. It is a basement with nothing.

“This is not war anymore. This is not army against army. It is Russia against humanity.”

The UK’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey branded the baby unit attack a war crime.

Mariupol’s deputy mayor Sergei Orlov insisted that Russian troops knew exactly what they were targeting — adding that it was the third time they hit a medical facility, after blitzing a bloodbank and a Covid ward.

Councillor Petro Andriushchenko said: “The city is literally covered in blood.”

He said at least 3,000 babies and 50,000 children were trapped inside the city, while the left bank district — home to 135,000 people — was “no longer liveable” after nine days of non-stop bombardments.

He warned: “Now all of them could die of dehydration, hunger or direct military aggression.”

He warned that 1,200 people had already died in the siege, with countless more unaccounted for in the rubble.

He went on: “It’s unbearable pain. Pain all day long.

“Humanity hasn’t invented a word to describe what is done to Ukrainian citizens of Mariupol. All this pain will turn to fury — deathly hatred towards Russians.

“You can destroy walls, you can try and kill everyone. But you cannot destroy the spirit of Mariupol. Mariupol will take revenge.”

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