Russia Strikes Ukrainian Cities Hours After Western Countries Promised Kyiv Tanks


Ukraine has urged the West to get military hardware into the hands of its troops as quickly as possible, as Russia fired missiles at Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities just hours after Germany and the United States announced its intention to supply modern tanks to the country.

Russia launched 55 missiles at Ukraine on Thursday morning, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Telegram. Shmyhal said the salvo targeted the country’s “energy facilities” and that some electrical substations were hit.

“The main targets were energy installations to deprive Ukrainians of electricity and heat,” Shmyhal said on Telegram. “The majority of missiles and drones were intercepted by our defenders. Unfortunately, there were knocks in the substations. Nevertheless, the situation of the electricity network remains under control. Electrical engineers do everything to provide electricity.

Emergency power cuts were introduced in the Kyiv region after the attack.

One person died in the capital and an air alert was put in place across the country, according to the city’s mayor. The deceased was identified as a 55-year-old man, who was killed “due to falling missile fragments”, Kyiv city military administration chief Serhiy Popko added.

Popko accused Russia of using the Iranian-made attack drones it sent to Ukraine overnight to try to distract Ukrainian air defense units. Fifteen attack drones were fired over the capital on Thursday, “aiming not just to hit ground targets”, he said. “According to the aggressor’s new tactics, the drones are the first wave of a combined air attack to detect and exhaust the Ukrainian air defense.”

The new assault comes amid Russian rage over the West’s decision to supply Ukraine with high-tech tanks. Germany finally approved the transport of Leopard 2 tanks on Wednesday, joining the United States in sending a batch of vehicles after weeks of geopolitical negotiations.

But a race to bring these tanks to the battlefield has now begun, and Thursday’s attack indicates that Moscow will aim to undermine Ukrainian resolve in the meantime.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West to provide more weapons after the attack. “This evil, this Russian aggression cannot and should only be stopped with adequate weapons,” Zelensky told Ukrainians in his Thursday night speech. “Weapons on the battlefield. Weapons that protect our skies.

Ukraine succeeded in shooting down most of the missiles, a feat that Zelensky attributed to air defense systems donated by the West.

“Today, thanks to the air defense systems supplied to Ukraine and the professionalism of our warriors, we managed to shoot down most Russian missiles and Shaheds,” he said. “That’s at least hundreds of lives saved and dozens of infrastructures preserved.”

Germany plans to deliver its 14 promised Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine by the end of March “at the latest”, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced on Thursday. This will follow a training period for Ukrainian soldiers.

“It’s not too late,” Pistorius said.

The arrival of 31 American Abrams tanks is expected to take much longer, given the complex systems and logistics required to get a battalion across the Atlantic Ocean and into eastern Ukraine. In the meantime, the United States will launch a “comprehensive training program” for the Ukrainians, which will require significant upkeep once they deploy, according to the White House.

Kyiv hopes that the German Leopards will be integrated into their operations before the start of a Russian offensive planned for the spring.

Alongside Russia’s Thursday attack on Ukraine, another wave of Kremlin anger has unfolded over the supply of tanks. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Moscow views the delivery of modern Western battle tanks to Ukraine as “direct involvement” in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

But the NATO countries dismissed Russia’s anger and showed their willingness to open a possible new stage of the war with weapons that will allow Ukraine to lead the fight against Moscow’s forces, rather than to concentrate on repelling Russian attacks.

Kyiv also continues to press for more Western stockpiles, including improved missile systems and modern fighter jets. “We need to unblock the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine, it is important for us to expand our cooperation in artillery, we need to achieve the supply of aircraft to Ukraine,” Zelensky said. said wednesdayadding that he had spoken with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg about this desire.

Zelensky called the request “a dream” but also an “important task for all of us”, indicating another long period of international dialogue in which Ukraine will seek to prepare the West to again step up military aid. .

The country’s defense minister meanwhile told CNN on Wednesday that Ukraine’s “wish list” for weapons supplied by the West includes fighter jets.

“I sent a wishlist card to Santa last year, and so did the fighter jets [were] including in this wishlist,” Oleksii Reznikov told Christiane Amanpour.

But he said his government’s first priority was air defense systems, to prevent Russia from carrying out airstrikes and missiles. “We have to close our skies, defend our skies,” he said. “It’s the number one priority. After that we need to get more armed vehicles, tanks, artillery systems, drones, etc. etc We have people, but we need weapons.

On the ground, Russian forces are “increasing their pressure” on the eastern town of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said on Wednesday.

“The intensity of the fighting is increasing,” Hanna Maliar said on Telegram. “The enemy is intensifying its pressure in the Bakhmut and Vuhledar directions. Heavy fighting continues. This account is consistent with two Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut, who said on Wednesday that Russian forces were trying to advance north and south of the town, with one telling CNN the situation was “very alarming”. .


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