Zelensky calls for more Western air defence systems to ‘save lives’

KYIV  -  Ukrainian President Volody­myr Zelensky on Saturday urged the West to deliver more air defence systems after five people were killed in the latest Russian strikes.

Overnight aerial attacks claimed three lives in the southern port city of Odesa, while shelling killed one per­son in the Kharkiv region near the Russian border and an­other in the frontline Kherson region, Ukrainian officials said.

“Russia continues to hit ci­vilians,” Zelensky said in a post on social media.

“We need more air defences from our partners. We need to strengthen the Ukrainian air shield to add more protection for our people from Russian terror. More air defence sys­tems and more missiles for air defence systems saves lives,” he said. Ukraine is currently on the back foot in the two-year war as a crucial $60-bil­lion aid package is held up in the United States congress. In Odesa, “a nine-storey building was destroyed as a result of an attack by Russian terrorists,” Interior Minister Igor Klymen­ko said Saturday in a post on Telegram.

The attack killed at least three people, including a child, with others still unaccounted for, Ukraine’s emergency ser­vices said. “Rescuers pulled out the body of a child, believed to be a three-to-five-year old, from the rubble of a house,” the office of Ukraine’s Pros­ecutor General said. Footage shared from the scene showed several floors of a residential building collapsed and its fa­cade ripped off. In Kharkiv, a 76-year-old man was killed in a shelling attack shortly after midnight, regional governor Oleg Synegubov said.

And shelling in the frontline Kherson region on Saturday morning killed one more per­son, the provincial head said.

Ukraine’s air force said Rus­sia had launched 17 Iranian “Shahed” drones overnight and fired three missiles. 

It said it downed 14 of the drones, but falling debris caused damage to residen­tial buildings in Odesa and Kharkiv. Kyiv also appeared to have had launched its own overnight drone attack that damaged a residential build­ing in Saint Petersburg, Rus­sia’s second city. The Russian head of the city reported an “incident” had occurred -- lan­guage previously used to de­scribe Ukrainian attacks -- but said there were no casualties.

Videos on Russian social media showed what appeared to be a drone falling from the sky into the building, trigger­ing an explosion, and locals said the blown out windows and small fires were caused by a drone hit.

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