Russia launches deadly air strikes against Ukrainian cities, leaving at least 13 dead

At least 13 people have been reported dead following air strikes launched by Russia on several cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv. The attacks have caused extensive damage to residential buildings and civilian infrastructure.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks and called for global sanctions to be enhanced to stop “evil”.

He said, “Evil can be stopped by weapons – our defenders are doing it. And it can be stopped by sanctions – global sanctions must be enhanced.”

The state rescue service confirmed that 11 people including a child were killed in an attack that hit a block of flats in the central city of Uman. Another woman and her three-year-old daughter were also killed in the city of Dnipro. Explosions were also reported in the city of Kremenchuk.

The attacks came as Ukrainian forces announced they were ready to launch a military offensive with new equipment, including tanks, supplied by Western allies.

Russian forces have struggled to gain ground in their winter offensive, which has lasted for 10 months and includes a battle for control of the strategically important city of Bakhmut.

It was not immediately clear what Russia was targeting in Friday’s attacks, but it has previously attacked civilian infrastructure. Moscow has previously denied deliberately targeting civilians, but thousands have been injured and killed across Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

According to Ukraine’s messaging service Telegram, 21 out of 23 missiles and two attack drones were shot down by Ukraine’s air defense system. A video posted on Telegram by Ukraine’s State Border Service showed a badly damaged apartment building in Uman after the strikes.

One resident of a damaged block of flats described how windows were blown out of her apartment before “the explosion” happened. Another resident said he heard two very strong explosions, and “everything started to burn, cars started to burn.”

The head of the Kyiv city military administration said it was the first Russian missile attack on the capital in 51 days. There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties in the capital.

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