Russia unleashes mass airstrikes in Ukraine, killing at least 12
A wave of Russian missile and drone strikes killed at least 12 people and wounded some 17 more in cities across Ukraine on Friday, according to officials.
The attacks came as large-scale Russian air strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure had appeared to wane in recent months and expectations were growing that Ukraine’s military would soon launch a counter-offensive against Russian forces.
Most of the deaths occurred in Uman, a city south of Kyiv, when two missiles slammed into an apartment building, Ukraine’s interior minister, Ihor Klymenko, said. “Missile strikes killing innocent Ukrainians in their sleep, including a 2-year-old child, is Russia’s response to all peace initiatives,” Dmytro Kuleba, the country’s foreign minister, tweeted.
Ukraine war latest
- Russia launched 23 missiles and two attack drones at Ukrainian cities, officials said. Ukraine’s air defense systems shot down 21 of the projectiles.
- In addition to the 10 people killed in Uman, a woman and her three-year-old daughter were killed in the southeastern city of Dnipro, the mayor said.
- Survivors of the Uman strikes recounted the moments as the missiles hit. “All the glass flew out, everything flew out, even the chandelier fell. Everything was covered in glass,” resident Olha Turina told The Associated Press at the scene.
- For the first time in nearly two months, Ukraine’s capital Kyiv also came under attack, although there were no reports of any targets hit.
- None of the projectiles landed anywhere near active combat zones in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and independent analysts have alleged since the start of the war that the strikes are part of a deliberate intimidation strategy by the Kremlin. Russia has repeatedly denied its military takes aim at civilian targets.
- A grinding war of attrition has taken hold along the war’s sprawling front lines in Ukraine’s east and south. Ukraine appeared to rebuff a planned Russian offensive this past winter. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, previously told USA TODAY that Russia would be “out of military tools” by this spring, laying the ground for a Ukrainian counter-offensive. Leaked U.S. military documents reported in the New York Times detailed that 12 Ukrainian combat bridges – 4,000 troops – would be moved to the front line by the end of April.
- Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, said Friday that planning for Ukraine’s counteroffensive was in its final stages. However he did not mention a specific timeframe: “As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and a decision by commanders, we will do it.”
More USA TODAY reporting on Russia’s war in Ukraine:
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