Kyiv: Russia attacked Ukraine with 16 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight, Ukrainian officials said Friday, a day after Moscow fired dozens of missiles in its latest barrage against critical infrastructure.
Air attack sirens sounded in the capital Kyiv, and Reuters heard several explosions and the sound of anti-aircraft fire south of the city. By dawn, the attack appeared to be over and residents slipped outside under peaceful skies after a day and night of relentless shelling.
The Ukrainian military said all drones were destroyed. Seven had targeted Kyiv, where an administrative building was damaged, said the capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko.
Russia has launched a total of 85 missile strikes, 35 air strikes and 63 strikes from multiple rocket-launching systems in the past 24 hours, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its daily briefing on the war.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it carried out a “massive strike” on military energy and industrial targets to disrupt Ukraine’s ability to repair equipment and move troops. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said the attacks targeted energy infrastructure and most had been repelled.
Areas where power loss was “particularly difficult” included the capital Kyiv, Odessa and Kherson in the south and surrounding regions, and around Lviv near the western border with Poland, Zelenskiy said.
“But that’s nothing compared to what could have happened without our heroic anti-aircraft gunners and air defense,” Zelenskiy said.
Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo said the Ukrainian energy system’s deficit was at the same level as before Thursday’s attacks: “The consequences of the damage had much less impact on the functioning of the electricity system than the had foreseen the enemy,” he said.
Since October, Russia has launched near-weekly massive missile and drone strikes against civilian infrastructure across Ukraine, leaving millions without heat or electricity as winter approaches. Russia says its goal is to reduce Ukraine’s combat capability; Kyiv says the attacks have no military purpose and are aimed at harming civilians, a war crime.
Kyiv claims that Iran provides Moscow with drones for its aerial attacks. Tehran denies it.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, said on Friday that at least three people had been killed in renewed Russian shelling in a border area in northern Chernihiv region and eastern Kharkiv region. .
The Ukrainian military said forces from Moscow also shelled 20 settlements around the bombed town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where the fiercest fighting is taking place, and more than 25 settlements in Kherson and Zaporizhia Regions.
Reuters could not immediately verify reports from the battlefield.
Putin invites “Dear friend” XI
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin held a videoconference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the most powerful world leader to refrain from condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Addressing the Chinese leader for eight minutes in remarks broadcast on Russian state television, Putin said he expected a state visit to Moscow from his “dear friend” Xi next spring, to “demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations”. “.
Putin said he aimed to deepen military cooperation between the two countries, whose relations were gaining importance as a stabilizing factor.
Xi responded for just two minutes, saying China was ready to increase strategic cooperation with Russia amid what he said was a “difficult” situation in the world at large.
Belarus, a close Russian ally that has so far refrained from joining the war, summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to complain about what he said was a Ukrainian air defense missile that flew in Belarusian airspace on Thursday.
“Kyiv is trying to provoke a regional conflict by all means,” Alexander Volfovich, secretary of the Belarusian Security Council, told Russian media Sputnik Belarus on Friday.
The Kremlin expressed concern over the incident. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry suggested the episode was a Russian provocation, but reserved the right to protect its own skies.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on NATO member states to supply more weapons to Ukraine: “It is in our security interests to ensure that Ukraine wins and Putin doesn’t win,” Stoltenberg told German news agency DPA in an interview published on Friday.
“We know that most wars end at the negotiating table – probably this war too – but we know that what Ukraine can achieve in these negotiations depends inextricably on the military situation.”
The United States last week announced nearly $2 billion in additional military aid, including the Patriot Air Defense System, which provides protection against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Britain said on Friday it had given Ukraine more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 kits to deactivate bombs and help clear minefields. Defense Minister Ben Wallace said Thursday that Britain would allocate 2.3 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) to Ukraine in military aid in 2023, matching the amount it provided this year.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what Putin calls a “special military operation” against what he says are threats to Russia’s security. Ukraine and its Western allies call it an imperialist-style war of conquest.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed in towns devastated by Russian forces. Tens of thousands of soldiers died on both sides.

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