Key developments on April 28:
- Russian missile strike on apartment block in Uman kills at least 23 people
- Defense minister: Preparations for Ukraine counteroffensive at final stage
- Slovak, Czech presidents make joint visit to Ukraine
- Denmark delivers Caesar howitzers to Ukraine
A Russian mass missile attack against Ukraine killed 25 people, including five children, on April 28, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
The Russian overnight attack that hit a nine-story residential building in the city of Uman, Cherkasy Oblast, killed 23 people, including four children, as of 7 p.m., the Interior Ministry reported.
The National Police earlier said that at least 18 people had been injured in Uman, nine of whom had been hospitalized.
The number of casualties may grow as the rescue operation continues at the destroyed building.
The attack partially destroyed three upper floors of the apartment building, causing large fires, according to first responders.
Other missiles Russia launched on April 28 targeted Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv oblasts.
A young woman and a two-year-old child were killed, and four other civilians were injured in the city of Dnipro, according to the regional authorities.
Kyiv Oblast Governor Ruslan Kravchenko said that a high-rise building in Ukrainka, some 50 kilometers south of Kyiv, was damaged by the missile debris.
Two people were injured, including a 13-year-old child who was hospitalized in a Kyiv hospital, according to the Interior Ministry.
Ukraine's air defense shot down 21 of the 23 X-101 and X-55 cruise missiles, as well as two drones, that Russia had launched using strategic Tu-95 aircraft from the Caspian Sea, according to Ukraine's Air Force.
Ukraine’s power grid operator Ukrenergo said the missile attack had not damaged the country's energy infrastructure.
The deliberate killing of civilians at any time and in any place breaches the Geneva Conventions and constitutes a war crime.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, has argued that the April 28 mass missile attack is another proof Ukraine needs to be supplied with American-made F-16 fighter jets.
Ukraine has been asking to receive F-16 warplanes to protect its airspace from Russian attacks and strengthen its upcoming counteroffensive. Yet, many allies, most notably the U.S. and Germany, have not backed the idea.
Preparations for Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive are "coming to an end" as the military trains on Western-provided weapons, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on April 28.
"But let's say it like this: in a global sense, we are ready by a high percentage," Reznikov said at a press conference, adding that the decision on the date and place of the counteroffensive will be made by the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces.
Reznikov said the equipment had been pledged, prepared, and partially delivered. The training on some military hardware is at the final stage.
“The crews will arrive (in Ukraine) with it when the time and place are determined," he said.
Ukraine has reportedly received almost all the military supplies promised by NATO countries.
Reznikov said on April 28 that Denmark has delivered the Caesar self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, and they are already in use. The minister didn't specify how many howitzers have been delivered.
Denmark pledged to deliver 19 French-made Caesar 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine in January, in addition to a promise to donate 100 German-made Leopard 1 battle tanks.
The equipment provided by Ukraine’s allies is planned to support the much-anticipated counteroffensive, which some U.S. officials believe could launch in May.
General Christopher Cavoli, a Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said he is “very confident” in the success of Ukraine's spring counteroffensive.
The operation was being planned "in several areas," Reznikov said in late March.
Meanwhile, Russian troops have shifted to defense in the wake of Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on April 25.
Russian officials are also attempting to secure occupied Crimea and prepare other locations for Ukraine's counteroffensive by transferring armored vehicles and artillery systems, the Institute for the Study of War said in its report on April 26.
As of today, Russia focuses its main military efforts on Bakhmut, Lyman, Avdiivka, and Marinka in Donetsk Oblast, where Ukraine’s forces repelled 40 Russian attacks on April 28, the General Staff said in its evening update.
The battles of Bakhmut and Marinka remain the most intense on the almost 1,000-kilometer-long (some 600 miles) front line, the military said.
Apart from Donetsk Oblast, on April 28, Russian forces attacked Luhansk, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts with missiles and artillery, the military said.
Check, Slovak presidents in Ukraine
Czech President Petr Pavel and his Slovak counterpart Zuzana Caputova arrived in Ukraine on the morning of April 28 for an unannounced joint visit.
Both arrived in Kyiv Oblast's Nemishaieve shortly after Russia's mass missile strike on Ukraine, Czech newspaper Dnes reported.
From there, Pavel and Caputova headed to Bucha and Borodianka, Kyiv suburbs where thousands of Russian war crimes have been documented after the occupation in early weeks of the full-scale invasion.
The presidents also met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials.
"With Zuzana Caputova, we both perceive the value of freedom and justice. It is hard to see with your own eyes that Ukrainians are paying the highest price for it. The blood and lives of their own citizens," Pavel said on Twitter.
This is Pavel's first visit to Ukraine since he was elected as the Czech president.
"Our first joint visit abroad with President Pavel is to Ukraine, bringing a message of friendship, solidarity, and support. Slovakia, Czechia, and Ukraine share parts of common history — and we also share our common future," said Caputova.
"Tonight's shameful attacks on some Ukrainian cities, including Dnipro or Uman, where innocent civilians died, remind us that we cannot afford to avert our eyes," Caputova wrote on Facebook.