Russia launches new deadly strike on Ukraine as US aid deadlock deepens

Kharkiv officials say latest Russian salvo included missiles made in North Korea

Russian missile and drone strikes on Ukrainian cities killed at least five people and injured more than 40 others as senior Republicans in the US Congress continued to oppose a bill that would send urgently needed military aid to Kyiv.

Ukraine said air defence units shot down 44 of 64 rockets and attack drones fired by Russia on Wednesday morning, and that its capital, Kyiv, and five regions across the country had been targeted, including Kharkiv in the east, Lviv in the west and Mykolaiv in the south.

The military command of neighbouring Nato member Poland said “Polish and allied aircraft have been activated” in response to Russia’s missile attack on Ukraine and that “all necessary procedures to ensure the safety of Polish airspace have been launched”.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said rescue and repair work was quickly under way in all areas that were hit, including several districts of Kyiv that suffered blackouts after high-voltage cables were damaged. Four of those killed were in an 18-storey apartment block in the capital that partly caught fire after being struck in the early morning barrage.


“Another massive Russian air attack against our country… We will definitely retaliate against Russia; terrorists will always face the consequences of their actions. I am grateful to all of our medics, rescuers and utility workers,” Mr Zelenskiy said on social media.

Police in Kharkiv said analysis of shrapnel showed that two of five rockets fired at the region were made in North Korea, which the United States says is now supplying Russia with ballistic missiles and artillery shells. The Kremlin has not acknowledged any such deal.

“Russian rockets… A residential building again. This is what they spend their money on. On strikes on civilians. Ukraine needs help. Only the joint efforts of democracies will stop criminals,” Mr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote on social media.

Military aid from the US is now frozen, however, due to opposition from Republican supporters of former president Donald Trump who are refusing to back a bill that would send about $60 billion (€56 billion) to Kyiv as part of a package that also includes funding for Israel and US border security.

Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans including the Congress speaker Mike Johnson wanted to prolong the stand-off over border security to help Mr Trump’s bid to return to the presidency this year.

“When President Trump came along and said he didn’t want to solve the border problem, that he wanted it as a campaign issue, speaker Johnson obediently changed his tune,” Mr Schumer said.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on social media that he was “starting my morning in the shelter as air alarms are sounding across Kyiv”, ahead of meetings with senior Ukrainian officials.

“Russia’s aggression is an attack against the existence of Ukraine and its people. It is also a direct threat to European security as a whole. Therefore, we need to support you not only ‘as long as it takes’ but should provide ‘whatever it takes’,” he said later on Wednesday.

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe