Russia missile strikes intensify aerial war with Ukraine

Published Jan 2, 2024


Ukraine said at least four people were killed in Russian missile strikes in the early hours of Tuesday that mainly targeted the country’s largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Another 92 people were wounded, although the casualties would have been in the hundreds if Ukraine's partners hadn’t helped boost the country’s air defences, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media platform X.

Ukraine has come under intense attacks since a missile claimed a large Russian landing ship at the eastern Crimean port of Feodosia last week. A deadly strike on Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, prompted warnings from President Vladimir Putin on Monday that more attacks would follow.

Two people were left dead in Kyiv and at least 49 were wounded as a result of today's attack and left several districts of the capital without electricity or water, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

Air raid sirens could be heard across the country as the military sought to repel the barrage. Neighbouring Poland scrambled two pairs of F-16 jets in response to Russia’s long-range targeting of Ukraine, the country’s operational command said on X.

The Russian Defence Ministry said it had targeted Ukraine’s defence industry facilities near Kyiv, according to the state-run Tass news service.

As was the case during a record year-end barrage, Russia fired a combination of various types of missiles from several directions, Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said on Telegram. Ukraine downed 72 of the 99 missiles launched on Tuesday, he said.

A series of tit-for-tat aerial assaults has spiked as the Kremlin’s war approaches the two-year mark. Putin, who is facing an election in March, said on Monday that Russia doesn’t want to fight “endlessly” in Ukraine but it won't give up its positions and is ready for peace only on its own terms.

As missiles pounded Ukraine, the Russian Defence Ministry said an “emergency discharge of ordnance” from a warplane led to a village inside Russia being hit, according to Interfax. There were no casualties, but several buildings were damaged in the Voronezh region village of Petropavlovka, Governor Alexander Gusev said on Telegram.

Tuesday’s bombardment follows large-scale drone attacks on New Year’s Eve. Ukraine shot down 87 Russian explosive-laden drones on the night of January 1 and another 35 drones the day after, launched from the occupied Crimea peninsula and Russian territory, Ukraine's military said.

Russia also launched missiles on Tuesday at the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest, killing one person and wounding more than 40, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

Kyiv has been urging its Western allies to continue providing support as more than $110 billion in total aid from the European Union and the US is held up. The UK last week said it’s shipping about 200 missiles to bolster the country’s air defences in the wake of Russia’s intensified strikes.

Bloomberg via Washington Post