Ukrainian air defense systems shot down 32 Russian air targets in a single day despite Moscow’s efforts to ramp up its attacks this week, according to military officials.
On Tuesday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that Ukrainian forces had destroyed 32 Russian attacks coming from different directions, including 21 winged rockets and 11 unmanned aircraft.
“During the current day, the invaders have again launched a mass missile strike, launched nearly 30 winged missiles across our country, launched seven air strikes and fired about 25 from jet fire systems,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote in a Facebook post.
“Unsuccessful, the enemy continues to launch missile strikes and deploy… strikes to impact critical infrastructure and residential areas of our nation’s cities,” the military staff said.
The announcement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a string of deadly strikes on at least 11 Ukrainian cities, including the capital of Kyiv, on Monday. The attacks, which Putin said were in response to this weekend’s blast on the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia, killed at least 14 people and knocked out key energy infrastructure. Putin has claimed, without providing evidence, that the bridge explosion was an “act of terrorism” committed by Ukrainian forces.
Monday’s missile strikes in Ukraine have prompted its Western allies to rush in with advanced air defense systems that Ukraine lacks and that other nations have put off delivering amid Russia’s invasion.
Hours after the attacks, Germany announced it would send the first of four IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine within days. President Joe Biden also pledged to provide Ukraine with “advanced air defense systems” in the aftermath of the strikes. Ukrainian officials have also urged its allies to deliver “anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems” to protect the sky over Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the leaders of the G7 nations for more “modern and effective air defense systems” to counter the Iranian drones being used by Russian forces.
While Putin’s latest move is the largest attack on Ukraine’s power grid since the invasion began on February 24, experts have said the indiscriminate targeting of the strikes “points to Russian weaknesses” and suggests that it will be difficult for Russia to sustain such a high rate of fire.
According to excerpts from a speech delivered at the Royal United Services Institute on Tuesday, Jeremy Fleming, the head of the U.K ‘s Government Communications Headquarters, said that Russian commanders are running out of supplies and munitions.
“Russia’s forces are exhausted,” he said, adding, “The Russian population has started to understand. They’re seeing just how badly Putin has misjudged the situation.”
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