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  4. Russian missile strikes kill 14 in Ukraine's Chernihiv city as Kyiv runs out of options

Russian missile strikes kill 14 in Ukraine's Chernihiv city as Kyiv runs out of options

The three Iskander cruise missiles launched by Russia struck an eight-storey building and damaged a hospital, an education facility and several cars. Ukraine is swiftly running out of options as vital funding from the US is currently blocked by Republicans.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Kyiv Published on: April 17, 2024 19:13 IST
Russia Ukraine war, Russian missile strike, Ukraine
Image Source : REUTERS A damaged building at the site of a Russian missile strike in Ukraine's Chernihiv.

Kyiv: At least three Russian missile strikes struck an eight-floor apartment building in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 61 others, according to authorities. The latest bombardment comes at a critical time in the over two-year-long war as Ukraine is running out of options due to a lack of military support from its Western allies, particularly the United States.

Chernihiv's acting mayor, Oleksandr Lomako, said three missile attacks by Russia ripped through a bust part of the city on Wednesday morning and destroyed a multi-storey building. "Unfortunately, Russia continues to engage in terrorist activity against the civilians and civilian infrastructure as confirmed by this strike on Chernihiv once again," he said. Chernihiv lies 150 km north of Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

The missile strike also damaged a hospital, an education facility and dozens of private cars, said Ukraine's Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. Russia carried out the attack with three Iskander cruise missiles, according to a comment from regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus to the local media. This comes as Russia intensified their attacks on Ukrainian cities by targeting Kyiv's power sector and critical infrastructure.

As Russia continues to pound Ukrainian cities starved for air defence, the country's top officials intensified pleas for international support, saying the devastation could have been avoided. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for determination and support from allies hours after the attack. "This would not have happened if Ukraine had received sufficient air defence equipment and if the world's determination to counter Russian terror had been sufficient," he said.

Ukraine is running out of options

Ukraine is facing a shortage of ammunition, with vital $60 billion funding from the US blocked by Republicans for months and the European Union failing to deliver munitions on time. This shortage of ammunition, troops and armoured vehicles has allowed Russia to move forward into the country along the 1,000-km front line. Ukraine has also accused Russia of ramping up the use of illegal tear gas to clear trenches.

Kyiv was further dealt a blow when Zelenskyy informed that Ukraine had run out of defensive missiles, due to which it was unable to defend against a Russian attack on the key Trypilska power plant, which left over a million people in the country without electricity. Overnight storms have further threatened Ukraine's fragile power system, cutting power access to several people.

Ukraine's need is now acute, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank. “The Russians are breaking out of positional warfare and beginning to restore manoeuvre to the battlefield because of the delays in the provision of US military assistance to Ukraine,” the ISW said in an assessment on Tuesday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked Germany for providing an additional Patriot battery and repeated Zelenskyy's appeal for more help as he prepared to attend a Group of Seven foreign ministers' meeting in Italy. “We need at least seven more Patriot batteries to protect our cities and economic centres from destruction,” Kuleba told a German daily. “Why is it so difficult to find seven Patriot batteries?”

Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office, on Wednesday reiterated Kyiv's plea for more air defence. Ukraine is using long-range drone and missile strikes behind Russian lines which are designed to disrupt Moscow's war machine. Meanwhile, Russia's defence ministry on Wednesday said a Ukrainian drone was shot down over the Tatarstan region.

'Ukraine would be outgunned '10 to 1' in weeks'

Last week, General Christopher Cavoli, the top US general in Europe, told Congress that Ukraine is running out of time and will be outgunned "10 to one" by Russia in a matter of weeks if the US is unable to find a way to approve sending more ammunition and weapons to Kyiv. "We're not talking about months. We're not talking hypothetically," he added.

Ukraine has been rationing its munitions as Congress has delayed passing its $60 billion supplemental bill. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has been trying to find a way forward for the bill that would fund new rounds of munitions production at US firms to enable the Pentagon to then rush more munitions to Ukraine. He is facing concerns from members who cite domestic needs, including border security.

Johnson is resisting pressure from some Republicans to assist Ukraine. is also facing a threat to his leadership role from his far-right flank by Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene who has called for his ouster over the issue. Democratic US Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan said Johnson should put on his "big boy pants" and make a tough choice, even at the risk of losing his job.

President Joe Biden's administration has voiced concern about the lack of funding for Ukraine. Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine's survival was in danger and sought to convince allies the US was committed to Kyiv. Officials say the lack of funding available is already having an impact on the ground in Ukraine, where Russian troops are advancing and Ukrainian forces must manage limited resources.

(with inputs from agencies)

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