Air alerts sounded again and again in Kyiv as a massive Russian attack on at least six cities across Ukraine killed at least two people, started fires and wounded at least 21.
The attack carried out on the International Day of Peace coincided with the United Nations General Assembly summit in New York, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech and presented a Ukrainian “peace formula”.
It also came as Poland said it will stop transferring any more of its own weapons to Ukraine as it modernises its own military.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the decision is not related to a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports, nor will it affect weapons transfers through Poland.
A dispute about whether Ukrainian grain should be allowed to enter the domestic markets of Poland and other European Union countries has pushed the tight relationship between Kyiv and Warsaw to its lowest point since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
“We are no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because now we will arm ourselves with the most modern weapons,” Mr Morawiecki said in an interview with private TV broadcaster Polsat News late on Wednesday.
He stressed that Poland will defend its economic interests but added that the dispute over grain imports will not harm Ukraine’s security. He said a Nato and US hub in the Polish city of Rzeszow used for transporting weapons into Ukraine will not be affected.
“We are not going to risk the security of Ukraine,” he said.
Poland has transferred large amounts of its older weapons to Ukraine and has been upgrading its own inventory with new equipment purchased from South Korea and other countries.
The missile attack was Russia’s largest since August 15 and came a day after reports of sabotage at a Russian military airfield in Chkalovsk near Moscow.
In the southern city of Kherson, near the front lines, two people were killed in Thursday’s attacks and at least five were injured when a strike hit a residential building, said regional Governor Oleksand Prokudin.
Seven people were injured in Kyiv, including a nine-year-old girl, Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said, and some residential and commercial buildings were damaged.
The Ukrainian Air Force said it had intercepted 36 of 43 cruise missiles launched deep into Ukraine.
Closer to the the front lines, Kherson was struck with S-300 missiles and Kharkiv was likely targeted with other, shorter-ranged, weapons.
At least six strikes hit the Slobidskyi district of Kharkiv, damaging civilian infrastructure, said regional governor Oleh Syniehubov. The city’s mayor added that two people had been taken to hospital.
At least 10 people were injured and at least one person was rescued from under rubble in Cherkasy, in central Ukraine, according to Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s internal affairs minister.
An industrial zone was hit in the western region of Lviv, damaging buildings and starting a fire, but no information on casualties was immediately available, Mr Klymenko added.
Regional governor Vitalii Koval reported strikes in the city of Rivne, in the north-west region of the same name, without immediately providing details.
Russia’s Ministry of Defence said 22 drones were taken down overnight by air defence systems, 19 above Russian-annexed Crimea and three others in the Kursk, Belgorod and Oryol regions near Ukraine. It did not say whether there were any casualties.
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