Ukraine experienced a series of deadly Russian airstrikes overnight into early Friday. Officials reported the use of drones and various missile types in these attacks, marking a troubling increase in hostilities.
The Growing Intensity of the Conflict
These assaults come on the heels of Ukraine's recent attack on a Russian Navy tank in Crimea, which dealt a significant blow to Moscow's Black Sea fleet.
Almost two years since President Vladimir Putin initiated the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky confronts a stalled counteroffensive. Moreover, the continuity of Western military aid, crucial for Ukraine's defense, now hangs in the balance.
The attacks spanned across Ukraine, with reports of explosions in Kyiv, Sumy in the northeast, Kharkiv and Dnipro in the east, and Lviv in the west. The extent of casualties and damage remains uncertain, but early reports suggest significant impact.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described the strikes as a “massive Russian airstrike on Ukraine,” targeting both social and critical infrastructure. "There are injured and dead. Our condolences to the families and friends," Shmyhal expressed in a Telegram post.Ukraine's air defense forces were commended for their professionalism by Shmyhal, who noted that most air targets were intercepted. The Ministry of Health also reported multiple injuries following these attacks.
Calls for International Support
Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, urgently called for international support in the wake of the airstrikes, labeling them as a "massive terrorist attack." "Rockets are flying at our cities again, targeting civilians," Yermak stated in a Telegram post.The Ukrainian Air Force reported the deployment of 9 Tu-95MS strategic bombers from Russia's Murmansk region. The Tu-95 bomber, known for its long-range missile capabilities, represents a significant threat due to its ability to strike from beyond the reach of most air defenses.
He emphasized Ukraine's need for enhanced defense capabilities to counteract this threat.
In Kyiv, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko reported at least seven hospitalizations following the attacks. The situation was exacerbated by a warehouse fire in the Podilskyi district and disruptions to the subway system, which also serves as a shelter.