Russia fired missiles at Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities just hours after Germany and the United States announced plans to provide the country with modern tanks, prompting Ukraine to force Western powers to replenish their military. He urged the hardware to get into the hands of the military as soon as possible.
Russia launched 55 missiles into Ukraine on Thursday morning, Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmykhal said on Telegram. Shmyhal said the salvo was aimed at the country’s “energy installations” and that several substations were hit.
“The main target was an energy facility to deprive Ukrainians of electricity and warmth,” Shmyhal said on Telegram. “Most of the missiles and drones were intercepted by the defenders. Unfortunately, there was a hit at the substation. I am doing everything to do that.”
After the attack, an emergency blackout was introduced in the Kyiv region.
One person was killed in the capital and an air raid warning was issued across the country, the mayor said. The deceased has been identified as a 55-year-old man who died “due to the fall of missile fragments,” added Serhiy Popko, the head of military administration in the city of Kyiv.
Popko accused Russia of using Iranian-made attack drones it sent overnight to Ukraine to distract Ukrainian air defenses. Fifteen attack drones were launched over the capital on Thursday, “not only intended to strike targets on the ground,” he said. “According to the aggressor’s new tactics, the drones will constitute the first wave of combined air raids to discover and deplete Ukrainian air defenses.”
The new attack comes amid Russia’s anger over Western countries’ decision to provide Ukraine with high-tech tanks. Germany finally approved the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks on Wednesday, joining in sending a batch of vehicles to the United States after weeks of geopolitical negotiations.
But the race to bring these tanks onto the battlefield has begun, and Thursday’s strikes show Moscow aims to undermine Ukraine’s resolve in the meantime.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West for more arms supplies in the wake of the attack: “This evil, this Russian aggression can and should be stopped only with the right weapons.” The weapon of the battlefield, the weapon that protects our skies.”
Ukraine was able to shoot down most of the missiles, thanks to air defense systems donated by the West, Zelensky said.
“Today, thanks to the air defense system and the professionalism of our soldiers provided to Ukraine, we were able to shoot down most of the Russian missiles and Shahed,” he said. “At least hundreds of lives have been saved and dozens of infrastructure facilities have been preserved.”
Germany plans to hand over 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “at the latest” by the end of March, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Thursday. It follows a period of training for Ukrainian soldiers.
“It’s not too late,” said Pistorius.
Given the complexity of the system and the logistics of deploying the battalion across the Atlantic to eastern Ukraine, the arrival of 31 American Abrams tanks is expected to take much longer. According to the White House, in the meantime, the US will begin a “comprehensive training program” for Ukrainians, which will require significant maintenance once deployed.
Kyiv hopes the German Leopard will be incorporated into their operations before the expected Russian offensive in the spring.
Alongside Thursday’s attack on Ukraine by Russia, the Kremlin has expressed another outrage over the supply of tanks. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday that Moscow sees the delivery of modern Western tanks to Ukraine as a “direct involvement” in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Stated.
But instead of dismissing Russia’s wrath and concentrating on repelling Russian aggression, the NATO nations began a possible new phase of the war with weapons that would allow Ukraine to leave the fight to Moscow’s forces. He showed a willingness to open.
Kyiv also continues to seek out more Western inventories, including improved missile systems and modern fighter jets. “The supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine must be released. It is important to expand cooperation in artillery, and the supply of aircraft to Ukraine must be achieved.” Zelensky said on wednesdayadding that he spoke with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg about the aspirations.
Zelensky described the request as a “dream” as well as “an important task for all of us”, calling for a long international dialogue in which Ukraine would try to warm up the West to once again ramp up military aid across the board. suggests.
Meanwhile, the country’s defense minister told CNN on Wednesday that fighter jets were on Ukraine’s “wish list” for weapons supplied by the West.
“Last year I sent a wish list card to Santa Claus, and even fighter planes [were] Include it on this wish list,” Oleksiy Reznikov told Christian Amanpour.
But he said his government’s top priority is the air defense system, to prevent Russia from carrying out airstrikes and missile attacks. ‘ he said. “That’s the number one priority. Then we need to get more armed vehicles, tanks, artillery systems, UAVs, etc. We have people, but we need weapons.”
On the ground, Russian forces are “increasing pressure” on the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Wednesday.
“The fighting is intensifying,” Hannah Marial said in a telegram. “The enemy is increasing pressure on Bakhmut and Vreda. , said on Wednesday that Russian troops were about to march north and south of the city, with one person telling CNN that the situation was “very alarming.”