Ukraine, new requests from Zelensky after barrage of Russian missiles

The Ukrainian president calls for better air defenses after the latest attacks that left at least 25 dead

The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged allies to provide Ukraine with better air defensesincluding fighter jets, after a barrage of Russian missiles hit residential areas.

“Air defense, a modern air force – without which effective air defense is impossible – artillery, armored vehicles. Everything that is needed to ensure the safety of our cities, our villages, both in the hinterland and on the front lines” , Zelensky listed in a video message after Russia’s heavy attacks that killed at least 23 people, including 4 children, in Uman and the one in the Dnipropetrovsk region, in which a mother and her 3-year-old daughter were killed .

Ten residential buildings were hit by missiles in the central Ukrainian city of Uman, Cherkasy region. A block of flats was destroyed. Eighteen people were injured in the attack, nine of whom were treated in hospital.

Russian evil can be stopped with weapons – our defenders are doing it. And he can be stopped by sanctions – global sanctions need to be tightened,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter earlier in the day.

The Ukrainian president has long called for significantly more weapons, a tightening of international punitive measures against Russia and better monitoring of the implementation of export restrictions imposed so far.

The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, on Friday put the total number of missiles fired against Ukraine overnight at 23. Of these, 21 were shot down, along with two drones. The Ukrainian military said cruise missiles were also fired near the capital Kiev, with air defenses downing 11 of them.

Shelling in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine left seven dead and 19 injured, local authorities said on Friday.

Defense Minister Oleksii Resnikov stated that preparations for the spring offensive of Ukraine, announced some time ago, are nearing completion. “In general terms, we are already ready in a large percentage,” Resnikov said at a news conference in the capital. According to Resnikov, only a few elements are missing to launch the offensive. “The technology itself has been announced, prepared and partly delivered,” the minister said.

For his part, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba he warned against viewing the expected Kiev counter-offensive as a “decisive battle” that will end the war. “The counteroffensive should not be regarded as a decisive battle. The decisive battle will be the one that will lead to the complete liberation of the Ukrainian territories. We will be able to draw this conclusion at the end, not at the beginning of the battle,” said Kuleba, quoted by Interfax-Ukraine , after other government officials urged not to exaggerate expectations.

“If only one counter-offensive is needed, then it will be one, if two or more are needed, so it will be. It is not a conflict that we can freeze”, said Kuleba again, underlining that Ukraine will fight until victory.