Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked the leaders of the G7 group of nations to urgently supply Ukraine with air defense weapons on Tuesday, after Russia rained down cruise missiles on cities across the country in a new escalation of the war.

 

More missile strikes killed at least one person in the southeastern town of Zaporizhzhia and left part of the Western city of Lviv without power, local officials said. Air raid sirens earlier wailed across Ukraine for a second day.

 

Other parts of the country remained blacked out after the cruise missile attacks on Monday which officials said killed 19 people in the biggest air raids since the start of the conflict.

Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes
Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes

Russian President Vladimir Putin, under domestic pressure to ramp up the seven-month-old war as his forces have lost ground since early September, said he ordered the strikes as revenge for an explosion that damaged Russia’s bridge to annexed Crimea.

 

Kyiv and its allies condemned the attacks, which mainly hit civil infrastructure such as power stations but also landed in parks, tourist sites and busy rush hour streets.

 

Russia has annexed new tracts of Ukraine, mobilized hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight and repeatedly threatened to use nuclear arms in recent weeks, spreading alarm in the West. A European diplomat said the NATO defense alliance was considering convening a virtual summit to consider its response.

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The White House said US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders met virtually to discuss what more they can do to support Ukraine and listened to Zelenskiy, who has called air defense systems his “number 1 priority.”

 

Biden has already promised more air defenses, a pledge that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said would extend the conflict.

 

“The mood of this summit is already obvious and predictable. The confrontation will continue,” Peskov told reporters.

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Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes
A wave of attacks by Russia in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, left a large crater in a playground.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

The broad avenues of the capital Kyiv were largely deserted after air raid sirens resounded at the start of the morning rush hour – the same time that Russian missiles struck on Monday. Residents took cover again deep in the underground Metro, where trains were still running.

 

Viktoriya Moshkivski, 35, and her family were among hundreds of people waiting for the all-clear in the Zoloti Vorota station, near a park where a missile ripped a crater next to a playground on Monday.

 

“(Putin) thinks that if he scares the population, he can ask for concessions, but he is not scaring us. He is pissing us off,” she said as her sons, Timur, 5, and Rinat, 3, sat by her side on a sleeping bag, the younger playing with a King Kong action figure.

 

Russia continued to launch long-range air strikes on Ukraine’s energy and military infrastructure on Tuesday, although the attacks did not seem as intense as the day before.

 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the main targets were energy facilities in a campaign to make life unbearable for civilians that had been planned well in advance.

 

“They’ve hit many yesterday and they hit the same and new ones today,” he wrote on Twitter. Hundreds of settlements around Kyiv, Lviv and elsewhere were still without power on Tuesday, Deputy Interior Minister Yevheniy Yenin told a briefing.

 

The governor of the southern town of Mykolayiv said Russia was firing enough to keep people in shelters. “What is this if not terror?” he said on national television.

 

In Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s sixth-largest city, apartment blocks have been struck overnight at least three times in the past week, killing civilians while they slept. Moscow has denied intentionally targeting them.

 

The city remained under Ukrainian control after Russia occupied most of the surrounding province, among four partially occupied regions that Moscow claims to have annexed this month.

 

In an overnight video address from the scene of one of the attacks in Kyiv, Zelenskiy promised that Ukraine would keep fighting.

Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes

“We will do everything to strengthen our armed forces. We will make the battlefield more painful for the enemy.”

 

“We will do everything to strengthen our armed forces. We will make the battlefield more painful for the enemy.”

 

G7 leaders are also expected to issue a warning to Belarus, Moscow’s closest ally, after Minsk said on Monday it was deploying soldiers with Russian forces near Ukraine in response to what it called a threat from Kyiv and its Western allies.

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