The attacks comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the US and Scandinavia in a bid to secure more aid and support for Ukraine during the harsh winter months.
Ukraine’s capital came under another ballistic missile attack early on Wednesday, injuring at least 53 people, including six children, and damaging buildings, officials said.
A series of loud explosions could be heard in Kyiv at 03:00 local time as the city’s air defences were activated for the second time this week. Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 10 ballistic missiles toward the capital and that all were intercepted by air defences.
The attack underscored the continuing threat to Ukraine from the Kremlin’s missile arsenal in the 21-month war. Russia has in recent months been stockpiling its air-launched cruise missiles from its heavy bomber fleet, according to a recent assessment by the UK Ministry of Defence.
This may herald another heavy winter bombardment of Ukraine’s power grid. Moscow last year targeted energy infrastructure in an effort to deny Ukrainians heat, light and running water and break their fighting spirit.
Zelenskyy tries to persuade Washington
Ukraine has been dwindling supplies of air defence munitions and other ammunition. This prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit Washington on Tuesday in an effort to persuade lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden’s request for $61.4 billion (€56 billion) for Ukraine.
Zelenskyy arrived in Norway on Wednesday to meet Nordic leaders gathered for a regional meeting focusing on cooperation in security and defence issues. Senior leaders from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden — among Kyiv’s staunchest supporters — attended.
“We are in a critical phase where Europe must continue to show its support,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a statement. “We must be tireless in our help.”
Kyiv injured taken to hospital for treatment
Debris from intercepted missiles fell in Kyiv’s eastern Dniprovskyi district, injuring at least 53 people, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Kitschko said on Telegram. Twenty people, including two children, were hospitalized, and 33 people received medical treatment on the spot.
An apartment building, a private house and several cars caught fire, while the windows of a children’s hospital were shattered, Klitschko said. Falling rocket debris also damaged the water supply system in the district.
It wasn’t immediately clear what type of missile was used in the Kyiv attack.
“It is difficult to imagine the consequences of these attacks if we don’t have air protection,” Ukraine’s Minister of Economy, Yulia Svyrydenko, said on X, formerly Twitter. “Each attack emphasizes the urgent need for more protection, as Russia shows no intention of stopping.”
In other parts of Ukraine, 10 Russian drones were shot down, most of them in the Odesa region, the Ukrainian air force said.
On Monday, a Russian missile attack destroyed several homes on the outskirts of Kyiv and left more than 100 households temporarily without electricity.
Blackouts and cyberattacks for Christmas
Wednesday’s attack came as Zelenskyy visited Washington, where he made an impassioned plea to Congress to approve additional aid to fight Russia’s invasion.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff who was travelling with the president, said the interception of the missiles fired at Kyiv showed how Western support is helping Ukraine resist the Russian aggression.
“The effectiveness of Western weaponry in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers is beyond doubt,” Yermak wrote on Telegram.
As winter sets in and hampers troop movements, allowing little change along the front line, air bombardment plays a growing role in the war. Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia will target energy infrastructure to cause power outages and blackouts like it did last winter.
Cyberattacks are also a busy battleground. Ukrainian telecom provider Kyivstar, which serves more than 24 million mobile customers across the country, said its services were disrupted Tuesday by a “powerful” attack by hackers. It also disrupted the air raid warning system in part of the Kyiv region, according to the head of the Kyiv regional administration, Ruslan Kravchenko.