KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia fired cruise and ballistic missiles and Shahed-type drones at six regions across Ukraine on Wednesday morning, authorities reported, killing at least five civilians and wounding almost 50 others, including a pregnant woman.
The attacks hit at least three major cities, including the capital, Kyiv, where the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, was discussing military aid and financial support for Ukraine. He said that he started his day in an air raid shelter, calling it part of Ukraine’s “daily reality” after almost two years of war.
The West’s help is desperately needed by Ukraine, which is struggling with ammunition and personnel shortages. Some long-term foreign funding is also in doubt as the latest effort to clinch a deal on Ukraine aid in the U.S. Senate collapsed Tuesday.
Though the roughly 1,500-kilometer (900-mile) front line has barely budged in recent months, the Kremlin’s forces have the upper hand in stocks of missiles and artillery ammunition used for long-range strikes. Russia has repeatedly used missiles to blast civilian targets during the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last month that air defense and electronic warfare systems that can stop drones are Kyiv’s top priorities.
The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said Wednesday that civilian casualties in the war have begun mounting again after falling last year. Last month, it documented 158 civilian deaths and 483 wounded, up 37% from last November. So far, the conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians and wounded nearly 20,000 others, the U.N. says.
Borrell visited a drone production facility in Ukraine where, he said, 1,500 small drones are produced daily.
Ukraine’s armed forces said they intercepted 44 Russian drones and missiles out of 64 that were launched in the morning attack.
A preliminary assessment concluded that two of the five missiles launched at Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine were made in North Korea, said Serhii Bolvinov, head of the National Police’s investigation unit in the region.
The United States, Ukraine and six allies have previously accused Russia of using North Korean ballistic missiles and launchers supplied by Pyongyang in aerial attacks against Ukraine, in violation of U.N. sanctions.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that it used long-range precision weapons and drones against Ukrainian factories that manufacture sea drones, coastal defense missile systems, rockets and explosives. The ministry said that all targets were hit.
The barrage killed four people in Kyiv, the State Emergency Service said, where explosions rattled the city during the morning rush hour. It was the first bombardment of Kyiv for two weeks.
The four people died when missile or drone wreckage hit an 18-story apartment building, causing a fire that gutted apartments on several floors, officials said.
The attack also killed one man and wounded six people in Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine, where about 20 residential buildings and public infrastructure were damaged, regional Gov. Vitalii Kim said.
Forty people were wounded in Kyiv, according to city authorities, including a pregnant woman.
Apartment buildings caught fire in multiple Kyiv districts, Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said. Two power lines damaged during the attack left about 20,000 households on Kyiv’s east bank without power.
It was the first significant power outage in the capital this winter because of Russian airstrikes. Last winter, Moscow’s forces targeted Kyiv’s electricity infrastructure in an apparent attempt to deny residents heat, light and running water.
In Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, a 52-year-old woman was slightly wounded in an S-300 missile attack, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said.
Missiles also hit as far away as the Lviv region of western Ukraine, where a fire broke out, officials said.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine