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Dead and injured as Russia pummels Ukrainian cities with missiles

Russia launched a wave of missile strikes on Friday across Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, killing at least two people and wounding 18, officials said. AFP reporters in Kyiv heard several powerful explosions in the early hours of Friday and saw thick black smoke billowing from a warehouse. “We haven’t seen so much red on our monitors for a long time,” said Yuriy Ignat, a spokesman for Ukraine’s air force, explaining that Russian forces had first launched a wave of suicide drones followed by missiles. “There are people killed by Russian missiles today that were launched at civilian facilities, civilian buildings,” presidential aide Andriy Yermak said. “We are doing everything to strengthen our air shield. But the world needs to see that we need more support and strength to stop this terror,” he said on Telegram. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said the capital’s air defences were working intensively and seven people had been hospitalised. A metro station, whose platforms were being used as an air raid shelter, was damaged, he said. Sergiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said a warehouse with an area of around 3,000 square metres (32,300 square feet) was burning in the northern Podil district. “There are many wounded, the number is being clarified,” he said. In other districts of the city, an uninhabited multistorey block of flats also caught fire and a private house was damaged, Popko said. – Maternity hospital struck – In the central Shevchenko district, a residential building was damaged and there was also a fire in a warehouse with six believed to be injured, Popko said. Klitschko wrote on social media that there appeared to be three people still under rubble of the warehouse while three others had been rescued. The overnight attacks came days after Ukraine struck a Russian warship in the occupied Crimean port of Feodosia in a major setback for the Russian navy. Drones and missiles struck at least five other Ukrainian cities on Friday, including Kharkiv in the northeast, Lviv in the west, Dnipro in the east and Odesa in the south, the cities’ mayors and police said. “So far we have counted 22 strikes in different districts of Kharkiv,” the mayor, Igor Terekhov, said on television. “There are currently seven injured in hospital. Unfortunately one person has died.” In Lviv, governor Maksym Kozytsky said that “one person was killed and three wounded”. In Dnipro, the mayor, Borys Filatov, said there were injured and dead. The health ministry said that a maternity hospital in the city had been “severely damaged”. – Crucial US support – In the southern port of Odesa, a high-rise building caught fire after being struck by debris from a downed drone, the city’s mayor said. “As a result of another enemy attack, one of the high-rise buildings was damaged. The fire was promptly extinguished,” mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov said on social media. Ukraine’s southern command said 14 attack drones had been destroyed in the south of the country and there were no casualties reported. The attacks came after Kremlin on Tuesday acknowledged a Ukrainian missile attack had damaged one of its warships. On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the United States for releasing the last remaining package of weapons available for Ukraine under existing authorisation, as uncertainty surrounds further aid to his war-torn country. Zelensky had warned that any change in policy from the US — Kyiv’s main backer — could have a strong impact on the course of the war. “I thank President Joe Biden, Congress, and the American people for the $250 million military aid package announced yesterday,” Zelensky said on social media. In an interview published on Friday, Christian Freuding, a German general who oversees the German army’s support for Kyiv, said Russia was severely weakened but was showing greater “resilience” than Western allies had expected at the start of the war. “We perhaps did not see, or did not want to see, that they are in a position to continue to be supplied by allies,” he told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

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