Russia unleashes huge missile and drone attack across Ukraine

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Russia unleashed rockets and drones throughout Ukraine early Friday, damaging schools, hospitals and homes across the country in what Kyiv said was one of the largest aerial barrages since the start of the war. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a majority of the almost 110 rockets fired during the attack were intercepted. 

Russia used “almost everything it has in its arsenal” in the attack, including ballistic and cruise missiles, he said. 

Ukrainians across the country were woken up by the blasts, which killed at least 18 people and injured more than 130, according to officials. Emergency crews rushed to rescue people from under the rubble and prosecutors launched a war crimes investigation into the attacks. 

Russia Launched Massive Missile Attack On Kyiv
Police officers block a street after a Russian missile attack in Kyiv.Oleksandr Gusev / Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Friday’s attacks came just days after a Ukrainian strike in Russian-occupied Crimea, in which a Russian landing ship was reported to have been damaged. 

In the capital, Kyiv, NBC News heard loud explosions throughout the city in the early hours of the morning, and local authorities said residential buildings, a metro station and a business center were hit. At least four people were killed and 30 injured, according to Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration.

In the second-largest city of Kharkiv in Ukraine’s northeast, local authorities reported more than 20 missile hits, resulting in damage to warehouses and a transport depot, and leaving three people killed and 13 injured, the region’s governor, Oleh Syniehubov, said.

In the far western city of Lviv, where missile attacks are more rare, authorities reported multiple explosions throughout the morning, damaging residential buildings, three schools and a kindergarten. One person was killed and another 15 injured, Mayor Andrii Sadovyy said. 

In the central city of Dnipro, six people died and 28 were injured as local officials said a shopping center and a maternity hospital were damaged. 

The southern port of Odesa was hit by drones and missiles overnight, resulting in four dead and 22 injured, and damage to residential buildings and a school, according to local authorities. 

Several other cities were also hit, and Ukraine’s air force continued to issue air raid warnings in some regions into Friday afternoon. Officials in the central Cherkasy region reported hits on residential buildings and casualties hours after the initial attack.

Speaking on Ukrainian TV, Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said the entire country became a target in a “powerful blow.” 

“We haven’t seen so much red on our monitors in a very long time,” he said, referring to red enemy targets on the air force’s radars. “In all regions, in all directions.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday it carried out 50 strikes with “precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles” on Ukrainian military targets this week. It did not say anything about the civilian targets hit across Ukraine on Friday. 

Moscow has denied hitting civilian infrastructure throughout the war, despite evidence of daily civilian casualties and entire Ukrainian cities in ruins. 

Neighboring Poland, a NATO member, also reported an “unidentified air object” entering from the direction of Ukraine, but it was not immediately clear what it was or whether it landed inside its territory. A stray missile struck a Polish village near the border with Ukraine last year, killing two people, in an incident that raised fears of a major escalation of the Kremlin’s war. 

Moscow has felt on the front foot in the war after Kyiv’s Western-backed counteroffensive had failed to achieve major breakthroughs this year and Ukraine’s allies are showing signs of growing reluctance to support its war effort indefinitely. It has spurred talks about what a possible cease-fire or even a peace agreement could look like, although Kyiv has so far shut down any possibility of talks with Russia. 

“Today, millions of Ukrainians awoke to the loud sound of explosions,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on X. “I wish those sounds of explosions in Ukraine could be heard all around the world.”

Image: UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT-WAR
Firefighters and municipal employees work at the site of a rocket attack in Dnipro.Stringer / AFP – Getty Images

They signify Russia’s true intention, he said — not willingness to negotiate. “These sounds are what Russia really has to say,” he added. 

While Kyiv is still waiting for Congress to greenlight a $61 billion aid package proposed by President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared more confident than ever in his army, which he said has been improving its positions along the entire front line. Meanwhile, he has sought to propel the narrative that the support for Ukraine is waning, as he said Western “freebies” for Kyiv are coming to an end. 

His top diplomat echoed that sentiment Thursday, saying the West is changing its tactics toward Ukraine.

“There are hints and leaks in the Western media that the West now wants to look for some way out of this situation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with state media, according to a transcript on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

“They need some way out ‘without losing face’ or a way out that allows you to at least convince yourself that you haven’t ‘lost’ your face,” he added. “I see it this way.”




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