- Drone attack forces Kyiv residents to seek refuge
- Following the biggest airstrike of the war the day before
- Both sides remain on the eastern front in Ukraine
Kyiv, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv were urged to head to bomb shelters early on Friday as sirens wailed across the city in the first of Russia’s biggest airstrikes since the war began in February. two days.
Shortly after 2 a.m., the Kyiv city government issued an alert on its Telegram messaging app channel about the air raid sirens and urged residents to seek shelter.
Kyiv region governor Olekskiy Kuleba said on Telegram that a “drone attack” was underway.
Reuters witnesses heard several explosions and anti-aircraft fire 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Thursday night that air forces in central, southern, eastern and western Ukraine fought off 54 Russian missiles and 11 drones on Thursday.
Zelensky acknowledged that most areas were without power. Zelensky said areas where power outages were “particularly difficult” included the capital Kyiv, Odessa and Kherson in and around the south, and areas around Lviv near Poland’s western border.
“But it’s nothing compared to what could have happened without our heroic anti-aircraft gunners and anti-aircraft units,” he said.
Footage captured by Reuters on Thursday showed first responders searching through the wreckage of houses in Kyiv destroyed by blasts and smoke trails from missiles in the sky. Officials had earlier said more than 120 missiles were fired in Thursday’s attack.
More than 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure were destroyed in the latest attack, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
Waves of Russian airstrikes targeting energy infrastructure have left millions without power and heat in often freezing temperatures in recent months.
The United States last week announced a nearly $2 billion increase in military aid, including the Patriot air defense system, which protects against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Britain said on Friday it had provided Ukraine with more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 bomb neutralization kits to help clear minefields.
“Russia’s use of landmines and targeting of civilian infrastructure underscores the appalling brutality of Putin’s invasion,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.
“This latest UK-backed package will help Ukraine safely clear land and buildings as it reclaims its rightful territory.”
Metal detectors, made by German company Vallon, can help troops clear safe routes on roads and pathways and help eliminate explosion hazards, while the kits can defuze unexploded bombs, the ministry said.
Wallace said on Thursday that Britain would provide Ukraine with 2.3 billion pounds ($2.77 billion) in military aid in 2023, matching the amount it provided this year.
Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombing is destroying cities, towns and the country’s power, medical and other infrastructure.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February. 24 Targeting what it considers a threat to its security in what President Vladimir Putin has called a “special military operation.”
Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as imperialist land grabs and imposed sanctions in an attempt to undermine the campaign.
The 11-month war has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, reduced cities to ruins, shaken the global economy and driven up energy and food prices.
The fiercest fighting took place in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, which together make up the Donbass industrial zone. Russia claimed in September to have annexed them, along with the southern provinces of Kherson and Zaporozhye, but did not fully control any of them.
($1 = £0.8290)
Reporting in the Reuters office; Writing by Grant McCool and Michael Perry; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Simon Cameron-Moore
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