Ukraine hit by Russian missiles… after West’s offer of tanks

Russia launched a wave of missiles at Ukraine on Thurs­day, a day after Ger­many and the US pledged tanks to aid Kyiv’s fight against the invasion.

One person died and two others were injured after strikes hit a building in Kyiv, the city’s mayor said.

Officials also reported strikes on two energy facilities in the south­ern region of Odesa.

The barrage came as Russia said it perceived the tank offer as “direct” Western involvement in the conflict.

In what was a sustained and wide-ranging attack, the head of the Ukrainian army said Moscow launched 55 air and sea-based mis­siles on Thursday.

Valery Zaluzhny added that 47 of them were shot down, including 20, around Kyiv.

Earlier, Ukraine’s air force said it had downed a cluster of Irani­an-made attack drones launched by Russian forces from the Sea of Azov in the south of the country.

A 55-year-old man was killed and two others wounded when non-residential buildings in the south of the capital were struck, officials reported.

The offensive was a continuation of Russia’s months-long tactic of targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure. The freezing winter has seen power stations destroyed and millions plunged into darkness.

After Thursday’s strikes, emer­gency power cuts were enforced in Kyiv and several other regions to relieve pressure on the electricity grid, said DTEK,

Ukraine’s largest private power producer.

A day earlier, German Chan­cellor, Olaf Scholz, promised to provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 tanks, following weeks of inter­national pressure. They are widely seen as some of the most effective battle tanks available.

The heavy weaponry is expect­ed to arrive in late March or early April.

President Joe Biden later an­nounced the US would send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks, marking a reversal of longstanding Pentagon arguments that they are a poor fit for the Ukrainian battlefield.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr­Zelensky, welcomed the move but urged the speedy delivery of the tanks. He also appealed to the West to send long-range missiles and fighter jets. —BBC

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