Russia pounds Ukraine with missile barrage in biggest attack in months

Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv among cities hit as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows to fight against 'terror'

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At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured when Russia bombarded Ukrainian cities with drones and missiles on Friday in its biggest attack in months.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 110 missiles were fired at major cities including Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv, with a maternity hospital, a shopping centre, high-rise buildings and schools hit in the strikes.

“We haven't seen so much red on our monitors for a long time,” said Yuriy Ignat, a spokesman for Ukraine's air force. He said Russia launched a wave of suicide drones followed by missiles.

On Friday, Britain announced it was sending around 200 air defence missiles to Ukraine to help protect civilians and infrastructure from Russian drones and bombing.

And US President Joe Biden, who just announced a final drawdown aid package to Ukraine for 2023, responded with renewed urgency for Congress to approve more funding for Kyiv.

“The American people can be proud of the lives we have helped to save and the support we have given Ukraine … But unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defence systems Ukraine needs to protect its people,” he said in a Friday statement.

“Putin’s objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped,” Mr Biden added.

Nato said it was monitoring the situation after Poland said a Russian missile passed through its airspace for three minutes.

Poland scrambled fighter jets to intercept the missile and “shoot it down if necessary” before it left the Nato member's territory, said Maciej Klisz, operational commander of the Polish army.

The overnight attack came days after a Ukrainian strike damaged a warship in occupied Crimea, in a setback for the Russian fleet.

Mr Zelenskyy said Russia unleashed “everything it has in its arsenal”, including drones, cruise missiles and Soviet-era S-300 surface-to-air weapons.

His tally of 110 missiles would make it Moscow's biggest aerial assault on Ukraine since it began its invasion in February 2022.

“We will fight to guarantee the safety of our country, every city and all our people. Russian terror must lose – and it will,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

At least two people were killed in Kyiv, with more thought to be trapped under the rubble of a damaged warehouse, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

He said seven people were receiving treatment in hospital, and a metro station being used as an air raid shelter was damaged in the attack.

The barrage struck at least five other cities, including Lviv in the west and Odesa on the Black Sea coast.

In the central city of Dnipro, Ukrainian officials said a maternity hospital was “severely damaged”. In Odesa, a high-rise building caught fire after being struck by debris from a downed drone, the city's mayor said.

Ukraine was repeatedly plunged into darkness last winter as Russia bombarded the power grid. Mr Zelenskyy warned late on Thursday of a “winter of full-scale war”.

He welcomed President Biden's announcement of a the $250 million support package, including anti-aircraft missiles and ammunition.

Ukraine “will do everything to maintain the proper level of co-operation next year”, Mr Zelenskyy said, amid persistent questions about whether western support was flagging.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 5:59 PM