Massive Russian attacks on Ukraine, Biden promises Zelensky ‘advanced air defense systems’

Massive Russian attacks on Ukraine, Biden promises Zelensky ‘advanced air defense systems’

Joe Biden promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “advanced systems” of air defenses on Monday after deadly Russian bombings – on a scale not seen in months – hit Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine.

These strikes came two days after the explosion that severely damaged Russia’s Crimean Bridge.

On Ukraine’s northern border, Belarus stoked fears of opening a new front and announced an unspecified deployment of Russian-Belarusian troops.

“They are trying to annihilate us all, to annihilate us from the face of the earth,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacted Monday morning as Russian missiles hit Ukrainian cities. But “Ukraine will not be intimidated,” he then began in his evening speech, promising to “repair everything that was destroyed.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin justified these “massive” bombings with the “terrorist” attack from Kyiv on the bridge connecting Russian territory with Crimea (south), the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

According to the latest police report, the strikes in Ukraine have left at least 11 dead and 89 injured. Prime Minister Denis Chmygal said eleven major infrastructures in eight regions had been damaged in addition to the capital.

“They want to destroy the energy system,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy, when many regions were hit by power outages.

Ukraine has announced that it will stop exporting electricity to Europe after these strikes.

– “First Episode” –

These bombings provoked outrage in the West.

The European Union has labeled them “war crimes” for which those responsible “must be held accountable” and is calling on Belarus “not to take part in Russia’s brutal aggression”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced “an unacceptable escalation”.

All countries of the United Nations met on Monday in New York (USA) for an emergency general assembly. Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsia, accused Russia of being “a terrorist state that must be vigorously deterred.”

According to its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO, which Ukraine wants to join, has condemned “terrific and indiscriminate attacks” on civilian infrastructure and pledged its support to Kyiv “as long as necessary”.

US President Joe Biden condemned the “absolute brutality” of the Russian bombings, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged Washington’s “support” to Ukraine after these “horrific attacks”.

The Ukrainian President announced in the evening that he had spoken to Mr Biden after the strikes. The latter pledged to “continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs for its defense, including advanced anti-aircraft systems,” according to a White House statement.

“Air defense is currently the top priority of our defense cooperation,” stressed the Ukrainian President.

Berlin has announced an emergency virtual meeting of G7 leaders and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Tuesday at 12:00 GMT. Germany will also urgently deliver a long-promised first anti-aircraft system.

Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia had launched a “massive” bombing campaign “against Ukraine’s energy, military and communications infrastructure” in response to the “terrorist” attack on the Crimean bridge.

He promised “tough” reactions in case of renewed Ukrainian attacks on Russia. The strikes “have achieved their goal,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

On Sunday, Putin accused Ukraine of orchestrating Saturday morning’s blast that destroyed part of the Crimean Bridge, which was built at great expense and inaugurated in 2018. Three people were killed in the attack.

Kyiv has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, currently No. 2 of the Moscow Security Council, went further, pledging that Monday’s strikes were only a “first episode” and calling for the “complete dismantling of Ukraine’s political regime.”

– ‘kill civilians’ –

“Of the 84 Russian missiles fired at Ukraine, 43 were shot down. Of the 24 Russian drones, 13 were shot down,” the Ukrainian President said on Monday evening.

Half a dozen explosions were heard in Kyiv, with strikes in several neighborhoods including downtown, which notably destroyed a children’s playground in Taras Shevchenko Park. In the next street, the rocket dug a crater, a lifeless body lying under a thermal blanket.

“I am very shocked. I arrived in Kyiv this morning. I was walking on the street (…) when there were explosions,” said Ivan Poliakov, a 22-year-old young man. “There is a university, two museums, there is no military target. They only kill civilians,” said Ksenia Riazantseva, a resident of the neighborhood.

Ukraine said Russia conducted the massive strikes out of desperation over its recent backlash on multiple fronts.

“Even now the occupiers cannot face us on the battlefield, so they resort to this terrorism. Well, let’s make the battlefield even more painful for the enemy,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is allied with Moscow but has so far refrained from deploying his troops to support Moscow, accused Kyiv of preparing an attack on his country, adding that Minsk and Moscow would therefore use Russian troops.

He also accused Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine of planning “terrorist” attacks and a “military uprising” in Belarus.


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