Russia launched one of the largest aerial barrages during its war with Ukraine overnight Thursday and into Friday, hitting areas across the country and killing at least 18 people. At least 86 people were also injured during the roughly 18-hour attack.
Ukrainian officials said the massive attack included 122 missiles and 36 drones that hit six different cities, including the capital, Kiev. According to Ukrainian army chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukrainian forces intercepted 87 of the missiles and shot down or disabled 27 of the Shahed drones.
Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said the overnight attack was “the most massive air attack” since Russia’s large-scale invasion in February 2022.
Previously, in November 2022, Russia fired 96 missiles into Ukraine in a single attack, the Ukrainian air force said. The largest previous attack this year was on March 9, when Russia launched 81 missiles.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kremlin forces used a wide variety of weapons, including ballistic missiles and cruise missiles: “Today, Russia used almost every type of weapon in its arsenal.”
A maternity hospital, apartment buildings and schools were among the buildings damaged in the attack, he added. Ukrainian officials said an unknown number of people were trapped in the rubble and the number of dead and injured was expected to rise.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ikhnat said Russia “obviously unleashed everything it has” in the attack. The attack included S-300 and Kh-21 missiles.
The Russian air barrage comes as the two sides have failed to make territorial gains over the winter and as the conflict has strained diplomatic relations on both sides. Fighting continues along the approximately 620-mile line of contact.
Ukrainian officials continue to urge Western allies to provide it with more air defenses to protect it from airstrikes like Friday’s attack.
Western officials and analysts have warned that Russia has been building up its cruise missiles for months in an apparent bid to carry out mass strikes like Friday’s, hoping to break the spirit of Ukrainians.
Two people were killed and 15 injured in Odessa, on the southern coast. One person was killed and eight injured in the western city of Lviv. One person was killed and at least nine were injured in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.