Residents shelter in a metro station during an air strike alarm in Kyiv.
KYIV: Ukraine has said that Russia had launched a major new wave of aerial attacks, as President Joe Biden announced he would mark one year since the invasion by visiting Kyiv’s neighbour Poland.
Strikes were reported from the eastern region of Kharkiv to the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk, a day after President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to Brussels to lobby EU leaders for long-range weapons and fighter jets.
Zelensky said on Friday Russian missiles had crossed over ex-Soviet Moldova and Nato member Romania while heading to Ukraine, though Bucharest denied the claim.
With the bloody conflict approaching its one-year anniversary on Feb 24, the White House said Biden would travel to Nato ally Poland on February 20-22.
Biden will make a speech to mark “Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, addressing how the United States has rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and democracy”, the White House said.
The Kremlin on Friday also announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would deliver his annual state of the nation speech on Feb 21.
Russia last targeted Ukraine with a mass strike in late January, days after Western allies agreed to deliver heavy tanks to Kyiv.
Zelensky called the new Russian attacks “a challenge to Nato”, adding that “this is terror that can and must be stopped”.
Romania’s defence ministry said it detected an “aerial target launched from the Black Sea from a Russian Federation ship” but “at no point did it intersect with Romania’s airspace”.
The Moldovan defence ministry confirmed that Russian missiles had crossed its airspace, adding that it would summon Russia’s ambassador.
Kyiv residents on Friday rushed to shelters as Russia battered the pro-Western country with missiles and drones.
The Ukrainian air force said Russians targeted cities and critical infrastructure, adding that Iranian-made explosive drones were launched from the Sea of Azov and Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea.
Russia also carried out a “massive” attack with “up to 35 anti-aircraft guided missiles” targeting the eastern region of Kharkiv and the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, the air force said.
Ten missiles were shot down over Kyiv, according to officials.
Friday’s wave of attacks follows Zelensky’s visit to Europe, where he urged allies to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles and fighter jets as Kyiv braces for a renewed Russian push in the east.
Zelensky warned that Ukraine needs military supplies faster than Russia can prepare what he said would be a dangerous new offensive.
He said he received “positive signals”, but some EU leaders were wary, fearing it could drag the West closer to direct conflict with Russia.
Published on, February 12th, 2023