A survivor emerges from the rubble of an apartment complex.

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-07-11 14:04:47 : Carlotta Gall and Kamila Hrabchuk

CHASIV YAR, Ukraine — The young man had been trapped for more than 20 hours, pinned under the rubble of his devastated apartment complex in the eastern Ukraine village of Chasiv Yar.

He emerged from the wreckage on Sunday evening, pulled out by rescuers who quickly covered his dust-covered body with a blue blanket before gently placing him on a stretcher.

The man — whose rescue was captured in a video filmed by Ukraine’s military and shared with The New York Times — was the sixth person dug out alive during a grim search-and-rescue operation that began after a Russian airstrike hit the complex late Saturday night, shearing off part of the building.

Soldiers and emergency crews had already combed the rubble overnight and throughout the day on Sunday, finding at least 26 bodies.

Ukraine’s military condemned the attack as “another act of terrorism,” saying in a statement that Russia had used multiple rocket launchers in the strike, which caused the building to collapse.

The attack, a dozen miles from the front line, was a grim reminder that the war is intensifying in Donetsk Province, with a string of towns and villages coming under deadly bombardment in the last week.

On Sunday, one resident of Chasiv Yar watched the rescue operation, as machines pulled away concrete slabs and emergency workers flung bricks aside.

“My grandmother was here,” he said. “That’s her bed,” he said pointing to the pile of rubble. “I hope they will find her and I can give her a funeral.”

And emergency crews did keep at the arduous task, finding a bit of success in late day amid the despair. By late Sunday videos posted to Telegram by Ukraine’s emergency services and online by state media showed rescuers clambering on a mountain of debris, then falling quiet as they knelt in the wreckage.

“Alive?” one calls out. “Give us a sound.” The video then shows several emergency workers gathered around a small gap in another area of the rubble, some extending their hands.

Then the young man’s head poked out, and soon he was freed, wide-eyed and seemingly alert. With him safely on a stretcher, the rescuers picked their way through the pile to a waiting ambulance.

And so as evening fell, the search continued. Estimates varied but a number of people were still thought to be trapped in the wreckage. President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the death toll would rise.

For the moment, emergency service officials said, there was still some hope.

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