Ukraine death toll rises to 18 after major Russian missile attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv

An onslaught of Russian missiles targeting Ukraine’s two largest cities have killed 18 people and injured 130 others, president Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Russian forces began pounding more than 200 sites in the capital Kyiv and the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday morning, trapping many people under the rubble of collapsed and damaged buildings.

Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address that around 40 missiles were launched towards Ukrainian cities, out of which “a significant number” were shot down, but many hit their targets.

The death toll is expected to rise as more than 139 houses of ordinary people were hit, the president said, adding that a rescue operation in Kharkiv was still underway.

“Ordinary life is what modern Russia considers a threat to itself. This state is a typical terrorist,” president Zelensky said.

The mayor of Kharkiv said at least eight people have been killed, including an eight-year-old girl, in the city close to the Russian border which has been subjected to repeated attacks throughout the 23 months of war.

In the capital Kyiv, 22 people, including four children, had been wounded across at least three districts, emergency services said.

Apartments of a residential building heavily damaged as a result of a missile strike in Kharkiv

(AFP via Getty Images)

A resident, Daniel Boliukh, 21, told Reuters: “There was a very loud bang, and my mother was already running outside, shouting that we need to leave. We all went to the corridor”.

“Then, we went on the balcony to have a look, and saw all these buildings were on fire.”

Apartment buildings, medical and educational institutions were damaged in the strikes across Kyiv, emergency services. Stikes also damaged parts next to the United Nations office, resident coordinator Denise Brown said in a statement.

The assault inflicted severe damage on Kharkiv, with regional Governor Oleh Synehubov saying more than 100 high-rise blocks had been damaged in the first two waves of attacks.

He said there were three hits in the evening on an apartment block and other infrastructure, injuring seven.

A video shared by Ukrainian defence forces showed a couple watching as a part of an apartment block burned down. Rescue workers worked late till evening and retrieved bodies from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The Ukrainian forces brought down 22 of 44 missiles of various types during the attacks, Ukraine‘s general staff said.

Nearly 20 missiles had been shot down over Kyiv, the city’s military administration said.

Kherson regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said Russian aircraft pounded his region throughout the day. Officials said two people had died. One person was killed in the southeastern city of Pavlohrad, the regional governor said.

Russia has stepped up missile assaults over Ukrainian cities in the past two months, with Putin’s forces using more than 600 missiles and around 1,000 drones, defence minister Rustem Umerov said.

Russian forces have used a strategy to target Ukraine with a mix of air and land-based missiles that were more difficult to shoot down, according to some analysts and officials.

An explosives expert inspects a crater following a missile attack in Kharkiv

(AFP via Getty Images)

It comes amid Ukrainian concerns that its demands for weapons are not being sufficiently met by Western allies amid divergence of attention over the Middle East flareup.

Sharing a video showing destruction in Kharkiv, the head of the presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, said: “Kharkiv. We are not just a ‘fortress’. We need weapons!”

Ukrainian forces have started targeting Russian energy infrastructure last week, including attacks on oil depots and terminals.

Moscow on Sunday accused Kyiv of killing 27 people in shelling on the Russian-occupied eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The regional governor called the strike on a busy market “horrendous” while Ukrainian forces denied the attack.

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