Putin smashes Kyiv with missiles leaving dozens injured including children at a hospital as Zelensky desperately battles to free up billions in US military aid

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Some 53 people, including six children, were injured in the missile attack 

Vladimir Putin unleashed a series of ballistic missiles at Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv overnight, leaving more than 50 injured after debris from the rockets slammed into homes and a children’s hospital. 

Some 53 people, including six children as young as five years old, were injured in the bombardment at 3am this morning. 

Ukraine said its air defences downed all ten ballistic missiles launched from Crimea but the flaming debris from the intercepted rockets hit buildings in the eastern Dniprovskyi district and injured dozens. 

The debris tore through an apartment building, shattered the windows of a children’s hospital and set several cars that were parked nearby on fire. Twenty people including two children were rushed to hospital as a result of the blasts.

The Russian bombardment comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an impassioned plea to the US Congress to free up £50.3billion ($61billion) of military aid amid a stalling counteroffensive and a waning supply of Western weapons.

US Senate Republicans last week defiantly voted to block billions of dollars of funding for Ukraine from advancing in a devastating blow to Zelensky whose soldiers have been unable to make significant gains against Russian troops for months.

After speaking with Zelensky in the White House, President Joe Biden last night said Putin is ‘banking on the US failing to deliver for Ukraine and accused Republicans of ‘turning their backs on freedom’s cause’.

Without vital aid from the US, Biden warned that Ukraine could lose the war and put Russia in a position to attack NATO allies, sparking World War Three. 

Staff of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and the police work together to rescue a woman from a burning building after a recent shelling amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, on Wednesday 

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv on Wednesday

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv on Wednesday 

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on Wednesday

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on Wednesday

An apartment building was set on fire in the missile attack on Kyiv overnight

An apartment building was set on fire in the missile attack on Kyiv overnight 

Biden shakes hands with Zelensky as they meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday

Biden shakes hands with Zelensky as they meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday 

Biden said ‘extreme’ Republicans would be ‘judged harshly’ by history for ‘holding Ukraine funding hostage’ in order to get a deal on more security at the US border with Mexico.

In Ukraine’s capital, people were woken to the sound of explosions as Putin unleashed a series of rockets – believed to be the powerful Russian Islander missiles – at Kyiv.

Air defences managed to down all 10 missiles, but the falling debris damaged an apartment building and a children’s hospital, leaving at least 53 injured.

The military administration in the Ukrainian capital said the city had faced ‘the second high-speed missile attack on Kyiv in the last two days’.  

‘Just like on December 11, the enemy used ballistic weapons,’ it said. ‘The Russians launched rockets at approximately 3am, most likely from the north-eastern direction.’

Kyiv mayor Vitali Kitschko said one of the children’s hospitals in the Dnipro district suffered damage, with the windows smashed. 

Kitschko added: ‘In the Dnipro district, the facade of a residential building was damaged by rocket fragments. Residents are being evacuated. Fire and rescue services and medics are working on the spot….

‘Four cars are burning in the yard of a residential building. One of the balconies of the building is on fire and the facade of the building is damaged.

‘Rescuers have already brought out 15 people, including four children. Fire services extinguish the fire. Evacuation of residents continues.

‘A one-story residential building is on fire in the Darnytskyi district. Emergency services arrived at the scene. Fragments of a rocket also fell on a private residential building in the Dnipro district.’

The mayor said: ‘In total, 53 people were injured as a result of the enemy’s night attack. Twenty, including two children, were hospitalised.’ 

Separately, footage showed Russia had put its flag over the ruins of Maryinka, a hotly-disputed town in Donetsk region, as it makes gains on the frontline.

And a leading Putin propagandist called on Ukrainian troops to surrender to resurgent Russians.

As Moscow claimed fresh battlefield advances and predicted any fresh assistance for Kyiv would be a ‘fiasco’, Zelensky told Biden as they met at the White House that ‘Ukraine can win’.

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, on Wednesday

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, on Wednesday 

Local residents gather outside of their apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv on Wednesday

Local residents gather outside of their apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv on Wednesday 

Petro Khomyn, 71-years-old, looks at his apartment damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, on Wednesday

Petro Khomyn, 71-years-old, looks at his apartment damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, on Wednesday 

Zelensky, who wore a black sweater with a small Ukrainian trident symbol and olive green military trousers, shook hands with the 81-year-old US leader as they sat in front of a roaring fire in the Oval Office.

‘We are going to stand at your side,’ Biden told Zelensky, even though the Ukrainian leader’s desperate pleas to Congress to pass $60billion in new assistance for aid for Kyiv fell on deaf ears.

‘Congress needs to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine… before they give (Russian President Vladimir) Putin the greatest Christmas gift they can possibly give him,’ Biden added.

But Zelensky’s attempt to keep Ukraine’s main backer onside, after White House warnings that funding for Kyiv will dry up by the end of the year, crashed into the realities of a bitter US domestic political divide.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, the gatekeeper for any deal, said his party would not approve Biden’s request for more aid for Kyiv unless Democrats meet their demands on immigration and the US-Mexico border.

‘What the Biden administration seems to be asking for is billions of additional dollars with no appropriate oversight, no clear strategy to win, and none of the answers that I think the American people are owed,’ Johnson told reporters after meeting Zelensky.

The Kremlin scoffed at the impact of US support, echoing the arguments made by some senior Republicans who say that continuing the flood of weaponry to Ukraine would be futile after Kyiv’s summer counteroffensive stalled.

‘It is important for everyone to understand: the tens of billions of dollars pumped into Ukraine did not help it gain success on the battlefield,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

‘The tens of billions of dollars that Ukraine wants to be pumped with are also headed for the same fiasco.’

Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington DC

Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington DC

Biden and Zelensky enter the room to hold a joint news conference in the Indian Treaty Room

Biden and Zelensky enter the room to hold a joint news conference in the Indian Treaty Room

Firefighters work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on Wednesday

Firefighters work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on Wednesday 

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike on Kyiv on Wednesday

Emergency staff work at a site of an apartment building damaged during a Russian missile strike on Kyiv on Wednesday 

Russia said it was pressing ahead on the ground, just as Ukraine’s freezing winter deepens and Moscow’s air attacks on Ukraine’s cities increase.

‘Our units have advanced significantly forward northeast of Novopokrovka,’ said the Moscow-installed head of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky.

Ukraine said Russia had launched a ‘massive offensive’ with armored vehicles in another part of the front near Avdiivka in the east.

In a blow felt by civilians behind the frontlines, Ukraine’s main mobile operator said it had been paralyzed by a ‘powerful hacker attack.’

The US said that in reality, Russia is paying a very heavy price for small gains, with some 315,000 Russian troops killed or wounded in Ukraine since the war began in February 2022.

Russian forces have also lost some 2,200 of the 3,500 tanks they had before the start of the conflict, according to a declassified US intelligence assessment shared with Congress.

The White House said Russia had suffered more than 13,000 dead and wounded in the east just since October.

But ‘Russia seems to believe that a military deadlock through the winter will drain Western support for Ukraine and ultimately give Russia the advantage despite Russian losses,’ National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.

As the United States ponders its future Ukraine policy, Kyiv’s main European ally Poland urged global support.

Polish prime minister-designate Donald Tusk called for the ‘full mobilization on the part of the free world, the West in support of Ukraine in this war.’

The message will likely be echoed loudly by Biden at the White House.

Republican senators last week blocked Biden’s request for $106 billion in emergency aid primarily for Ukraine and Israel.

Talks are ongoing behind the scenes on a deal that would make concessions to Republican demands for tough measures against illegal immigration in return for the Ukraine package.

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