© Reuters. Firefighters work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine December 13, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
By Sergiy Karazy and Valentyn Ogirenko
KYIV (Reuters) – Russia’s second missile assault on Kyiv this week injured at least 53 people, damaging homes and a children’s hospital, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded in Washington for more help for his country.
The windows of residential apartment blocks were blown out and frightened residents streamed out onto the street to assess the damage. Missile debris blew a large crater in the ground and destroyed parked cars.
Ukraine’s air defence systems downed all 10 ballistic missiles aimed at the capital about 3 a.m. (0100 GMT), Ukraine’s Air Force said on the Telegram.
Falling debris caused injuries and destruction in four of Kyiv’s districts along the Dnipro River, which cuts through the capital, officials said. Thirty-five buildings were damaged, according to the city’s military administration.
Ukraine’s national police said 53 people, including six children, had been injured by the attack. Eighteen people had been hospitalised, it said in a social media post.
Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff identified the projectiles as Iskander-M ballistic missiles, as well as S-400s: extremely fast missiles intended for air defence, but which have also been used to hit ground targets.
The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, praised Western-supplied air defence systems and their operators after Ukraine downed all 10.
“The effectiveness of Western weapons in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers cannot be doubted,” Yermak said on the Telegram messaging app.
Windows and entrances were shattered by debris at a children’s hospital in Kyiv’s Dniprovskyi district, but based on initial assessments, there were no casualties, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.
Debris also hit several residential buildings in the Dniprovskyi district. The district’s water supply was damaged.
Kyiv military administration chief Serhiy Popko said 17 people, including seven children, were evacuated from a residential building in the Dniprovskyi district after debris hit a building and nearby cars, causing a fire.
He added that most injuries came from windows blown out by the blast wave.
“There are many injured,” Popko said.
The attack followed a salvo of ballistic missiles that targeted Kyiv early on Monday and injured four people.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden warned Republicans that they would give Russia a “Christmas gift” if they failed to provide additional military aid to Zelenskiy, whose meeting with a top U.S. lawmaker concluded without a commitment for more support.
There was no comment from Russia about the attack on Wednesday, which also damaged buildings in Kyiv’s Desnyanskyi, Darnitskyi and Holosiivskyi districts.
Both Moscow and Kyiv deny targeting civilians in the nearly 22-month-long war that Russia launched against its neighbour in February 2022.
The air force said that it also shot down all 10 Russian-launched attack drones over the Odesa region in Ukraine’s south.