Russian strikes hit several Ukrainian cities overnight

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Russia fired more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones at Kiev and other parts of Ukraine early Friday, killing at least 12 and striking a residential building in central Ukraine, officials said.

Air raid sirens sounded around the capital in the first attack against the city in nearly two months and Ukraine’s air force intercepted 11 cruise missiles and two unmanned aerial vehicles over Kiev, according to the Kiev City Administration.

There were no immediate reports of any missiles hitting targets in Kiev but fragments from intercepted missiles or drones damaged power lines and a road in one neighborhood. No casualties were reported.

But in Uman, around 215 kilometers (134 miles) south of Kiev, two cruise missiles hit a nine-story residential building, killing at least six people and wounding 17, according to Ukrainian national police. Three children were rescued from the rubble, police said.

One of the people killed was a 75-year-old who was in her apartment in a neighboring building and suffered internal bleeding from the shockwave of the blast, according to emergency personnel on the scene.

Three body bags lay next to the building as smoke continued to billow hours after the attack. Soldiers, civilians and emergency crews searched through the rubble outside for more victims, while residents dragged belongings out of the damaged building.

One woman, crying in shock, was taken away by rescue crews for help.

A 31-year-old woman and her 2-year-old daughter were also killed in the eastern city of Dnipro in another attack, regional Governor Serhii Lysak said. Four people were also wounded, and a private home and business were damaged.

In Kiev, the anti-aircraft system was activated, according to the Kiev City Administration. Air raid sirens started at about 4 a.m. and the alert ended about two hours later.

The attack was the first on the capital since March 9.

The missiles were fired from aircraft operating in the Caspian Sea region, according to Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander in Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

Overall, he said Ukraine intercepted 21 of 23 Kh-101 and Kh-555 type cruise missiles launched, as well as the two drones.

The attacks came as NATO announced that its allies and partner countries have delivered more than 98% of the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine during Russia’s invasion and war, strengthening Kiev’s capabilities as it contemplates launching a counteroffensive.

Along with more than 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks and other equipment, Ukraine’s allies have sent “vast amounts of ammunition” and trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian brigades, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

More than 30,000 troops are estimated to make up the new brigades. Some NATO partner countries, such as Sweden and Australia, have also provided armored vehicles.

“This will put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

The overnight attacks and comments came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a “long and meaningful” phone call on Wednesday in their first known contact since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than a year ago.

Though Zelenskyy said he was encouraged by Wednesday’s call and Western officials welcomed Xi’s move, it didn’t appear to improve peace prospects.

Russia and Ukraine are far apart in their terms for peace, and Beijing — while looking to position itself as a global diplomatic power — has refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion. The Chinese government sees Russia as a diplomatic ally in opposing U.S. influence in global affairs, and Xi visited Moscow last month.

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