Russia pounds Ukraine's two biggest cities in new wave of attacks

January 3, 2024 12:01 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Russia pounded Ukraine’s two biggest cities in a new wave of heavy air strikes, killing at least five civilians and prompting calls for the West to quickly provide more military assistance.

The missile and drone attacks on the capital Kyiv and the northeastern city of Kharkiv also wounded dozens of people, caused widespread damage and hit power supplies, officials said.

Russia has intensified its attacks over the New Year period, with President Vladimir Putin warning on Monday that a Ukrainian air strike on the Russian city of Belgorod, which Moscow said killed 25 civilians, would “not go unpunished”.

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Smoke belched out of the charred side of a high-rise residential building in Kyiv where mayor Vitali Klitschko said an elderly woman had been killed and 49 people hurt. Emergency services later recovered another corpse from the building.

A 91-year-old woman was killed in a missile strike on Kharkiv that also wounded dozens and a married couple was killed in an attack in the area around Kyiv, local officials said.

“Russia will answer for every life (that it has) taken away,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messenger. Russia later said one man had been killed and seven people injured in another attack on Belgorod.

Russia stepped up missile and drone strikes on Dec. 29, when it launched its largest air attack of the war, killing at least 39 people. Kyiv had warned for weeks that Russia appeared to be stockpiling missiles for big attacks.

Russia holds swathes of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine, and there is no end in sight to the war as next month’s second anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion approaches.

Russia depicts a Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in mid-2023 as a failure, and front lines have changed little in recent months.