Kyiv/BRUSSELS: russian missiles shelled more than 40 Ukrainian cities, officials said on Thursday, after a United Nations General Assembly resolution called Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory “unlawful” and Ukraine’s allies pledged more military aid.
Russia reiterated its position that the West, by helping Ukraine, signaled that “they are a direct party to the conflict” and warned that Ukraine’s admission to NATO could trigger the Third World War.
“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation into a Third World War,” Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Alexander Venediktov, told the official TASS news agency on Thursday.
Over the past 24 hours, Russian missiles hit more than 40 settlements, while the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 32 strikes on 25 Russian targets, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said.
The mayor of the port city of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevich, said in a social media post that the southern city had been “massively bombarded”.
“A five-storey residential building was hit, the top two floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working at the site,” he said.
A shipbuilding center and port on the Southern Bug River off the Black Sea, Mykolaiv suffered heavy Russian bombardment throughout the war.
Russia also targeted a settlement in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv region with explosive drones early Thursday, the region’s administration said on the Telegram messaging app.
Kyiv Region Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said based on preliminary information that the strikes were caused by Iranian-made munitions. These are often referred to as “kamikaze drones”.
Critical infrastructure has been hit by the drones, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office.
Missiles hit more than 30 multi-storey and private houses, gas pipelines and power lines in the town of Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region, and more than 2,000 families were left without electricity, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk wrote, Valentin Reznichenko, on Telegram.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the report.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia’s missile attacks were a sign of weakness. “Russia is losing on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said.
As his forces have lost ground since September, Russian President Vladimir Putin has escalated the conflict, ordering the recall of hundreds of thousands of reservists, proclaiming the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory and repeatedly threatening to use the weapon nuclear to protect Russia.
Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which he says includes the four regions he declared annexed last month.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he doubted Putin would resort to nuclear weapons. A senior NATO official said a Russian nuclear strike would almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine’s and potentially NATO allies.
In New York, three quarters of the 193 members of the General Assembly – 143 countries – voted on Wednesday in favor of a resolution condemning the “illegal annexation attempt” by Russia of the four partially occupied regions of Ukraine.
Only four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Thirty-five countries abstained from voting, including Russia’s strategic partner China, while the others did not vote.
In September, Moscow proclaimed its annexation of four partially occupied regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – after having organized what he called referendums.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter that he was “grateful to 143 states that backed the historic UNGA resolution… (Russia’s) annexation attempt is worthless.”
In Brussels, more than 50 Western countries gathered to pledge more military aid to Ukraine, particularly air defense weapons, following heavy retaliatory strikes ordered this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to an explosion on a bridge in Crimea.
The allies’ pledges included France’s announcement that it would deliver radar and air defense systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks. Britain promised air defense missiles and Canada said it would provide artillery shells among other supplies.
At the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Brussels, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Russia’s latest attacks had laid bare its “malevolence and cruelty” since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. At least 26 people have been killed since Monday in Russian missile attacks. across Ukraine.
Ukraine has changed momentum since September with extraordinary gains but would need more help, he said. “…We’re going to do everything we can to make sure they have what it takes to be effective,” Austin told reporters.
Since Monday’s attacks, Germany has sent the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems, while Washington has said it will expedite the delivery of a promised NASAMS air defense system.
“The more aid Ukraine receives now, the sooner we will end the war with Russia,” Zelenskiy said via video during a forum at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the General Assembly ahead of the vote that the resolution was “politicized and openly provocative”, adding that it could “destroy” efforts to reach a diplomatic solution.

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