Ukraine gets more international support as Russia hits Ukrainian cities
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a video address to the European Council, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 in Strasbourg, France (Jean-Francois Badias / AP)
As Russia’s forces used Iranian-made kamikaze drones to attack the Kyiv and Odessa regions, as a punishment by Moscow to the country for a truck bomb attack on a bridge to Russia-annexed Crimea, the Western countries increased their military and financial support to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s allies vowed to supply the invaded nation with advanced air defense systems as Russian forces attacked the Kyiv region and other Ukrainian cities with kamikaze drones and missiles.
Journalists wrote that it is the payback for the bombing of a strategic bridge linking Russia with annexed Crimea. The 12-mile Kerch Bridge is a prominent symbol of Moscow’s power.
Ukrainian officials replied that such an attack was clearly already planned since several days.
Describing the scope of Russia’s retaliatory attacks, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament said Russian forces struck more than 70 energy facilities in Ukraine this week. State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin threatened an “even tougher” response to future Ukrainian attacks.
Missile strikes killed at least twenty people in Ukraine. In the southern city of Mykolaiv, heavy artillery damaged more than 30 houses, a hospital, a kindergarten and other buildings in the town of Nikopol, across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
Residents of Ukraine’s capital region, whose lives had regained some normalcy when war’s front lines moved east and south months ago, were jolted by air raid sirens multiple times, after explosives-packed Iran-made drones found their targets.
Russia has intensified its bombardment of civilian areas in recent weeks as its armed forces lost ground in many occupied regions of Ukraine, exactly when the Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed them.
“We need to protect our sky from the terror of Russia,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Council of Europe, a human rights organization. “If this is done, it will be a fundamental step to end the entire war in the near future.”
Responding to Zelensky’s repeated requests for more effective air defenses, the British government announced it would provide missiles for advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine. The U.K. also is sending hundreds of aerial drones for information-gathering and logistics support, plus 18 howitzer artillery guns.
“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the U.S. NASAMS,” U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Other NATO defense ministers meeting this week promised to supply systems offering from medium to long range defense against missile attacks.
Germany has finally delivered the first of four promised IRIS-T air defense systems, while France pledged more artillery, anti-aircraft systems and missiles. The Netherlands said it would send missiles, and Canada is planning about $50 million more in military aid, including winter equipment, drone cameras and satellite communications.
Unusually resolute the words of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said Putin “and his enablers have made one thing very clear: this war is not only about Ukraine,” but rather “a crusade against our way of life and a crusade against what Putin calls the collective West. He means all of us.”
NATO plans to hold a nuclear exercise next week against the backdrop of Putin’s insistence he would use any means necessary to defend Russian territory, including the illegally annexed regions of Ukraine. The manoeuvres take place each year.
Ukrainian officials said Iranian advisers in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine were training Russians how to use the Shahed-136 systems, which can conduct air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare and targeting.
The low-flying drones keep Ukraine’s cities on edge, but the British Defense Ministry said they’re unlikely to strike deep into Ukrainian territory because many are destroyed before hitting their targets.