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Ukraine reports downing 14 aerial drones as Russia attacks port of Odesa

A local resident searches for intact items in his apartment in a residential building destroyed by a rocket attack the day before, in Kyiv, on July 9, 2024, amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine.
A local resident searches for intact items in his apartment in a residential building destroyed by a rocket attack the day before, in Kyiv, on July 9, 2024, amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile attack Wednesday on the port of Odesa killed at least two people.

The attack was part of the what the Ukrainian military said was five ballistic and guided missiles and 20 drones that Russia deployed in its latest wave of daily aerial attacks targeting areas across Ukraine.

The Ukrainian air force said the country’s air defenses shot down 14 of the 20 drones, with the intercepts taking place over the Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Khmelnytskyi, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Rivne and Vinnytsia regions.

Oleksandr Koval, the regional governor of Rivne, said on Telegram that Russian drones targeted energy infrastructure. Koval reported there were no injuries from the attack.

Electrical grid operator Ukrenergo reported a serious attack on one of its facilities in Rivne.

Russia’s defense ministry said it shot down two Ukrainian aerial drones over the Belgorod and Voronezh regions.

NATO aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Washington where he is pushing NATO leaders to boost support for Ukraine’s military, particularly in the area of air defenses.

In a speech late Tuesday, Zelenskyy highlighted Russia’s attacks Monday that utilized 40 missiles and struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv, killing at least 43 people across the country and injuring nearly 200 others.

Zelenskyy advocated for quick action, especially from the United States, saying officials should not be waiting for the November U.S. elections.

“It’s time to step out of the shadows, to make strong decisions work, to act and not to wait for November or any other month. To this end, we must be strong and uncompromising,” Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian leader made similar comments earlier Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit, telling VOA that he would be talking with leaders.

“There we will discuss priorities first and foremost. These are air defense systems. I think that after this, both President [Joe] Biden and other leaders can be more powerful and more decisive than they were up to this point,” he said. “Although I am grateful to the president, the administration, and the U.S. Congress for the package that was voted on, we expect that it is gradually arriving on the battlefield and gradually strengthening our army.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke about the commitment of the United States and other countries to Ukraine before their meeting on Tuesday.

“Ukraine’s success as a strong, independent, successful country is the best possible rebuke to the aggression that continues to be committed by Putin and Russia against Ukraine, including just 24 hours ago an attack on the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv, a hospital that I visited a couple of years ago when I was in Ukraine visiting the children, some of whom have been victims of the Russian aggression, other cancer patients, suffering other illnesses, being treated at this remarkable facility,” Blinken said.

Kuleba said he would “raise the point about possible U.S. assistance in rebuilding and re-equipping this hospital, because we need to relaunch it as soon as possible. There are children who need daily support, daily assistance, surgeries, other procedures and manipulations. They have to continue.”

At the United Nations, the Security Council met in an emergency meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the attack on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv.

The acting head of the U.N. office of humanitarian affairs emphasized that hospitals are protected under international humanitarian law.

“Intentionally directing attacks against a protected hospital is a war crime and perpetrators must be held to account,” Joyce Msuya said.

She said the intensive care, surgical and oncology wards were severely damaged and its dialysis center was destroyed.

“First responders attending the scene immediately after the attack found children receiving treatment for cancer in hospital beds set up in parks and on the street, where medical workers had quickly established triage areas among the chaos, dust and debris,” Msuya said.

Russia's defense ministry said the strikes targeted Ukrainian defense plants and military air bases and were successful. It denied aiming at any civilian facilities and claimed without evidence that pictures from Kyiv indicated the damage was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador echoed that and said the council was being drawn into a “dirty propaganda campaign” of Ukraine and its supporters.

“Russia does not strike civilian targets in Ukraine,” Vassily Nebenzia said, questioning the timing of the incident on the eve of the NATO summit in Washington.

“Yesterday’s attack makes abundantly clear: Putin is not interested in peace. He is committed to wreaking death and destruction in pursuit of his war of aggression,” said U.S. envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

VOA U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer and VOA White House reporter Misha Komadovsky contributed to this report. Some information for this story was provided by Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.

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