Russia targets Kyiv after Putin vows revenge for border strikes

Russia targets Kyiv after Putin vows revenge for border strikes
Russia targets Kyiv after Putin vows revenge for border strikes

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Ukranian municipal services workers survey and repair the damage following a missile attack in Kyiv, on March 21, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. — AFP pic

KYIV, March 22 — Russia fired more than 30 missiles at Kyiv early yesterday, the largest attack on the Ukrainian capital in weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed retribution for strikes and incursions into Russia’s border regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West to deliver air defence systems after the attacks, which wounded 17 in Kyiv and the surrounding region.

A later missile strike on the southern city of Mykolaiv killed one woman and injured six when it hit an industrial site, Ukraine’s emergency services agency said.

“Such terror continues every day and night,” Zelensky said in a Telegram post.

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“It is possible to put an end to it through global unity... Russian terrorists do not have missiles capable of bypassing Patriot and other leading world systems,” he said.

“This protection is required in Ukraine now. From Kyiv to Kharkiv, Sumy to Kherson, and Odesa to the Donetsk region. This is entirely possible if our partners demonstrate sufficient political will.”

For weeks, a vital US$60 billion US military aid package for Ukraine has been blocked in Congress amid domestic political arguments.

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‘Shot down all missiles’

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 31 Russian missiles fired towards Kyiv.

Ukraine’s military intelligence unit said the missiles had been targeted at its facilities in the capital, local media reported, citing a spokesperson.

Local officials said falling debris from the missiles injured 17 people — 13 in Kyiv and four in the surrounding region.

The air force said Russia fired two Iskander ballistic missiles and 29 cruise missiles, launched from strategic bombers.

“Our defenders worked successfully and shot down all the missiles,” said Oleksiy Kuleba, the deputy head of Zelensky’s office.

Zelensky posted a video of windows blown out of a residential building and debris strewn across the street as firefighters used water hoses on the smoking building.

It was the first missile strike on the Ukrainian capital since early February, said Sergiy Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration.

Russia’s defence ministry said yesterday that it had targeted Ukrainian military sites with “long-range high-precision weapons, including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.”

“The objectives of the strike have been achieved. All targets were hit,” it said in a daily briefing.

Putin vows revenge

The attacks come after a sharp escalation in Ukrainian strikes on Russian border regions and oil refineries over the last two weeks.

Settlements close to the front lines also came under fresh attack. Two people were killed by Russian shelling on the southern Kherson and eastern Donetsk regions, Ukrainian officials said.

And five people were injured by a Ukrainian attack on Russia’s Belgorod region, close to the countries’ shared border.

And last week, Belgorod region and a neighbouring province were rocked by a series of brazen cross-border raids by pro-Ukrainian Russian militias.

A coalition of the Russian fighters told a press conference in Kyiv yesterday they would continue raiding Russian territory, and would “soon go to other cities”.

Their comments come after Putin vowed to restore security to the border areas and said that Russia had a plan to deliver victory against Kyiv.

Moscow’s forces are seeking to press their advantage in manpower and ammunition on the frontlines, amid the delays to Western aid for Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed yesterday to have captured the village of Tonenke in east Ukraine, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from the city of Avdiivka, which fell to Russian forces last month.

Zelensky has repeatedly called for the West to deliver more air defence systems for Kyiv as Russian missile attacks continue to kill and injure Ukrainians.

In his evening address yesterday, he also warned Russia was manufacturing its missiles using components imported from the “free world”.

“It is imperative to block such schemes and all those who support them. We need more sanctions,” he said. — AFP

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