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In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Service, a firefighter works to extinguish a fire after a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine. Alamy Stock Photo
War in Ukraine

Four killed in wave of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine

The strikes came as Russia moved some 300 people from the border city of Belgorod due to Ukrainian shelling.


A WAVE OF Russian strikes killed four people across Ukraine today, officials said, as authorities in the Russian border city of Belgorod evacuated hundreds due to Ukrainian shelling.

As the war approaches its second anniversary, both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of causing dozens of civilian casualties in a sharp escalation of attacks.

“This morning, unfortunately, began again with a massive missile attack,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address.

“Forty-five people were injured, and at this time, we know of four dead,” he said.

Russian missiles hit a shopping centre and high-rise buildings in Zelenskyy’s hometown of Kryvyi Rig, killing one person, deputy head of the presidency Oleksiy Kuleba said.

A separate missile attack in the western region of Khmelnytsky killed two people, officials said, while an elderly woman in the Kharkiv region died after being pulled from the rubble of her home.

Moscow said in its latest defence ministry briefing that it had struck only “military” targets.

Bolstered by Western air equipment, Ukraine’s defence forces had been destroying most of the drones and missiles that Russia launched in regular aerial strikes.

in-this-photo-provided-by-the-ukrainian-emergency-service-emergency-workers-help-a-wounded-man-after-a-residential-houses-were-badly-damaged-in-a-russian-missile-attack-near-kryvyi-rih-ukraine-mon In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Service, emergency workers help a wounded man after a residential houses were badly damaged in a Russian missile attack, near Kryvyi Rih. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

But it downed just 18 out of 51 missiles today.

“A large number of ballistic missiles were launched today… Many said the rate (of destroyed missiles) is not very high,” air force spokesman Yuri Ignat acknowledged.

But air defence achieved “a good result”, Ignat said, with all drones destroyed and some Russian missiles also missing their targets.

Ukraine has warned it needs continued support to sustain its air defence systems amid the escalation in aerial attacks.

Evacuations from border city

Russian territory has also seen renewed drone attacks.

Russian air defences downed two Ukrainian drones over the border region of Bryansk on Monday, the defence ministry said.

The announcement came as Russia moved around 300 people from the border city of Belgorod because of Ukrainian shelling, the biggest evacuation from a major Russian city since the conflict began.

Kyiv’s forces have launched waves of deadly strikes on Belgorod, which lies less than 32 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

The residents who decided to leave are being housed in temporary accommodation in the towns of Stary Oskol, Gubkin and the Korochansky district, further from the border, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

“Over the past 24 hours we received 1,300 requests to send Belgorod children to school camps away from the city in other regions,” he added.

zaporizhzhia-ukraine-08th-jan-2024-zaporizhzhia-ukraine-january-8-2024-rescuers-are-seen-at-work-near-a-residential-building-damaged-as-a-result-of-the-russian-missile-attack-on-zaporizhzhia Rescuers are seen at work near a residential building damaged as a result of the Russian missile attack on Zaporizhzhia. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The Kremlin has tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy on the home front, but recent strikes on Belgorod have brought conflict in Ukraine closer to home for many Russians.

On 30 December, Ukrainian shelling of the city killed 25 people, prompting schools to shut for an extended period.

Moscow vowed to intensify strikes on Ukraine in response to the attack, the deadliest in Russia since the start of the war in February 2022.

‘They’re trying to destroy us’

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa paid a surprise visit to Kyiv on Sunday, where she said Tokyo was “determined” to keep supporting Ukraine.

Kamikawa, the first high-level foreign official to visit Kyiv this year, announced new deliveries of defence equipment and discussed Tokyo’s plans to host a February conference to promote Ukraine’s economic reconstruction.

“Japan is determined to support Ukraine so that peace can return to Ukraine,” Kamikawa told a press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba held in a bomb shelter as an air raid siren rang out.

“I once again strongly condemn Russia’s missile and drone attacks, particularly on New Year’s Day,” said Kamikawa.

She said Tokyo would “allocate” $37 million (€34 million) to provide Ukraine with a drone detection system. It will also supply five generators to help Ukraine “survive” another winter.

Kuleba said Kyiv was thankful for Japan’s decision last year to provide Ukraine with F-16s jets, but said the country also needed air defence systems.

“Every day, Ukrainian cities are destroyed by Russian missiles and drones. They cannot capture us, so they are trying to destroy us,” he said.

© AFP 2024