Russia launches its largest air attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion

(CNN) —Russia launched the largest air attack against Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian military told CNN, firing an unprecedented number of drones and missiles at targets across the country, killing at least 12 people and Dozens of others were injured.

The wave of attacks began overnight on Friday and hit the entire country, with explosions reported in the capital Kiev as well as the central city of Dnipro, the eastern city of Kharkiv, the southeastern port of Odessa and a maternity hospital in the western city. Of Lviv, far from the front line.

“It has been a long time since we have seen on our monitors so many enemy targets in all areas and in all directions,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat told national television. “He shot at everything.”

The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russia used 158 drones and missiles, including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, cruise missiles and Shaheed drones, to attack targets in Kiev in the east, south and west of the country.

“Today the enemy has launched a strong attack. Many positions have been hit, although unfortunately there have also been casualties,” Ihnat said.

Smoke rises after a Russian missile and drone attack in Kiev, Ukraine on December 29, 2023.  (Credit: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Smoke rises after a Russian missile and drone attack in Kiev, Ukraine on December 29, 2023. (Credit: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

At least one person was killed and 21 injured in Kiev after Russia attacked a metro station and residential buildings. Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said at least three people were trapped under the debris of a damaged warehouse in the Shevchenkivskyi district.

Kharkiv suffered a “massive attack”, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal, who reported more than 20 attacks in the area, including one on a hospital. According to Oleh Sinihubov, head of the regional military administration, a 35-year-old man was killed and 11 people were injured.

Yurif Malashko, head of the regional military administration, said on Telegram that at least one woman was killed and 10 people were injured in the southern region of Zaporizhia. Emergency teams are still working to see if people are trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings.

In the south, a school building in Odessa was attacked, injuring seven people, including a child. According to the Ukrainian Health Ministry, at least one person died in the area.

The series of attacks came just days after Ukraine attacked a Russian navy tank in Crimea on Tuesday, a major blow to Moscow’s fleet in the Black Sea.

But the attack came as Ukraine received the latest US military aid package until Congress approved the Biden administration’s funding request.

Nearly two years after President Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky is facing massive retaliation, while Western aid has begun to dry up.

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, called for support as his country battles Russian airstrikes.

“Ukraine needs support. We will be even stronger, we are doing everything to strengthen our air shield. But the world needs to see that this terror will end,” Yermak said in a post on Telegram on Friday. We need more support and strength to stop.” ,

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal said that “major Russian airstrikes on Ukraine” targeted “social and critical infrastructure”.

“There are injured and dead. Our condolences to the families and friends,” Shimhal said in his Telegram post on Friday. “However, the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces have once again demonstrated a high level of professionalism. The majority of air targets were shot down. We thank the servicemen for saving lives.”

Firefighters work after a building was damaged following a Russian attack in Kiev on December 29, 2023.  (Credit: Ukrainian Emergency Service/AP)

Firefighters work after a building was damaged following a Russian attack in Kiev on December 29, 2023. (Credit: Ukrainian Emergency Service/AP)

bomber in the air

The Ukrainian Air Force announced that it “recorded the departure of 9 Tu-95MS strategic bombers from the ‘Olenya’ airfield in the Russian region of Murmansk.”

The Tu-95 bomber is the mainstay of Russia’s air strikes against Ukraine, capable of launching cruise missiles at its neighbor beyond the range of most air defense systems.

In Kiev, authorities warned residents to take shelter because a “UAV threat” was detected in the area, a reference to drones.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said at least seven people were hospitalized after the attacks. Trains were stopped when a building at the Lukyanivska metro station in central Kiev, which also serves as a shelter, was damaged, Klitschko said.

Serhiy Popko, head of Kiev’s military administration, said in a Telegram message that several people were injured after a fire at a warehouse in the Podilsky district and that a search was underway for victims.

At least six explosions were heard in the city of Kharkiv, less than 40 kilometers from the country’s northeastern border with Russia, according to its mayor Ihor Terekhov. Terekhov described the city as “under massive rocket attack” in an update early Friday.

At least one person has been killed so far and eight have been injured, according to Oleh Sinihubov, head of the Kharkiv region’s military administration.

The rocket attacks also damaged a medical center, warehouses and other civilian infrastructure, Sinihubov said in a Telegram update.

Several explosions were heard in Sumy on Thursday night local time, following Russian shelling “against border areas and settlements”, the region’s administration said.

In Lviv, near the border with Poland, the explosion was reported when anti-aircraft defenses intercepted a Russian drone, Maxim Kozitsky, head of the Lviv regional military administration, said early Friday.

Lviv Mayor Andrey Sadovy said on Telegram on Friday that a residential building was attacked and set on fire.

Friday’s widespread strikes came after Russia launched 53 strikes in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, according to a Telegram message from the Ukrainian General Staff.

According to the message, Russia carried out dozens of airstrikes, injuring civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure.

With reporting from CNN’s Maria Kostenko, Svitlana Vlasova and Victoria Butenko.

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