On Friday evening, Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs said at least 30 people had been killed across the country and police said 160 were injured.
Reports from individual regions put the death toll as high as 27:
- three dead and 13 injured in Kharkiv
- four killed and 27 injured in Odesa
- six dead and 22 injured in Kyiv
- six dead in Dnipro. A materinty hospital is reported to have been hit.
- one dead and 24 injured in Lviv
- seven dead and 12 injured in Zaporizhzhia
Those numbers could rise further.
Kyiv Post reporters in the center of Kyiv counted at least nine explosions on Friday morning. The Air Force later said it had shot down more than 30 targets over the capital.
Photos and videos posted to social media showed smoke rising from at least two places in Kyiv.
One video appeared to show a fire on top of a residential building.
Big fire on the top of a high-rise in Kyiv, the result of today's huge Russian bombardment across all of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/nJXEQz06DD— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) December 29, 2023
“We haven't seen so much red on our monitors for a very long time—across all areas, in all directions. Initially, the occupiers conducted reconnaissance through combat with the Shaheds, and then they launched missiles of various types.”
Speaking to AFP, he later said: "This is the most massive missile attack in general," adding that this tally excluded the first days of the war launched in February last year that saw "constant and uninterrupted" strikes.
In a social media post on Friday morning, President Zelensky said Russia had launched around 110 missiles at Ukraine.
Ukraine's military later said 158 missiles and drones were launched and 114 had been downed.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk said the attacks hit a wide range of civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, a maternity hospital, schools, kindergartens, parks, a metro station, and a shopping mall, as well as energy infrastructure.
The barrage also cut electricity in several regions, following damage to transmission lines, and rescue teams were still searching for people trapped under the rubble of residential buildings, he added.
“We will surely respond to terrorist strikes,” Zelensky said. “And we will continue to fight for the security of our entire country, every city, and every citizen.
“Russian terror must and will lose.”
A maternity ward, educational facilities, a shopping mall, multi-story residential buildings and private homes, a commercial storage, and a parking lot. Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and other cities.— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 29, 2023
Today, Russia used nearly every type of weapon in its… pic.twitter.com/q5q8Q98Njr
The attacks come as Ukraine continues to try to seek further support and aid from its Western allies.
“We are doing everything to strengthen our air shield. But the world needs to see that we need more support and strength to stop this terror,” Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the attack as "cowardly."
It was yet another cowardly and indiscriminate targeting of schools, a metro station and a hospital, resulting in the death of at least 16 people and several wounded.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) December 29, 2023
The EU stands with Ukraine, as long as it takes.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday said Moscow's latest missile strikes on Ukraine showed Russian President Vladimir Putin "will stop at nothing to achieve his aim of eradicating freedom and democracy."
"We will not let him win. We must continue to stand with Ukraine –- for as long as it takes," he added on X, formerly Twitter.
❗️Rescuers managed to free a person from under the rubble in #Kharkiv, as reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.— KyivPost (@KyivPost) December 29, 2023
The building was destroyed by a Russian missile in the morning. Fortunately, the man is alive. pic.twitter.com/SowzltBeRZ
The overnight attacks came days after Ukraine struck a Russian warship in the occupied Crimean port of Feodosia in a major setback for the Russian navy, AFP reports.
Drones and missiles struck at least five other Ukrainian cities on Friday, including Kharkiv in the northeast, Lviv in the west as well as Odesa in the south, the cities' mayors and police said.
“Today, at five o'clock in the morning, the fascists' followers hit the peaceful city with S-300 missiles. Ten explosions rang out in Kharkiv,” Kharkiv region police said.
Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov later said there had been three waves of strikes on Friday.
France condemned Russia's "strategy of terror" in Ukraine.
"Russia is continuing its strategy of terror aimed at destroying Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in order to undermine the resilience of the Ukrainian population," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.
"France will continue to support Ukraine and provide it with the necessary assistance to enable it to exercise its self-defence, in close coordination with its partners."
The UN's humanitarian envoy for Ukraine on Friday denounced the latest wave of Russian attacks that killed at least a dozen people and wounded over 70 across the war-torn country.
"For the Ukrainian people, this is another unacceptable example of the horrifying reality they are faced with and which made 2023 another year of enormous suffering," Denise Brown said on social media.
The US government on Wednesday announced what it said was the last remaining package of weapons available for Ukraine under the existing authorization, with Congress now needing to decide whether to keep supporting Kyiv's battle against the invading Russians.
President Joe Biden has made backing Ukraine a priority and US weapons and financial assistance have been crucial in helping the pro-Western country battle against a far larger attacking Russian force.
However, right-wing Republicans have led a push to halt the effort, refusing to authorize new budget outlays if the Democrats do not first agree to tough new measures against illegal migration over the US southern border.
Some other Western countries have also wavered in their support for continued military supplies for Ukraine in recent weeks as the second anniversary of the war looms in February.
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