Russian forces fired 18 cruise missiles and five drones at Ukrainian targets on Thursday, just one day after Western allies vowed to send Kyiv what it needs to bolster its air defenses.
Sirens rang out across the country in the morning as Ukraine’s defenses scrambled to block the latest barrage of missile fire and drone strikes, this time focused largely in the Dnipropetrovsk region, west of the Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk regions and north of Kherson.
The Ukrainian air force said that at least six of the cruise missiles were struck down by air defense systems and all five Iran-supplied Shahed-136 drones, fired from Belarusian territory, were also stopped.
At least four people have been reportedly killed in the strike and more than a dozen were wounded after a residential building was struck, according to the Associated Press.
Another two cruise missiles were also struck down over Kyiv, as reported by the city’s military administration.
Russia has intensified its aerial attacks while its ground forces continue to see setbacks as Ukraine forces push the front lines farther east.
Since Nov. 11, Russia has launched nearly 150 missiles and over 25 kamikaze drones against Ukraine, according to General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksii Hromov, Ukrainian news outlets reported Thursday.
Ukraine’s armed forces have reportedly stopped 102 air strikes over the last six days.
The latest strikes come one day after the U.S. and allies from nearly 50 nations met to discuss what Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin described as the “right mix” of arms to help Ukraine “prevent the Russians from achieving air superiority.”
“As Ukraine continues to fight, air defense capabilities are becoming critical,” he told reporters. “An integrated air and missile defense system is what is necessary as Ukraine repels Russian aerial attacks.”
The U.S. pledged to send another $400 million in security aid last week. On Wednesday, Austin said that U.S.-supplied NASAMS air defense systems have had a 100% success rate in Ukraine.