Russia Unleashes Biggest Aerial Attack On Ukraine Since Opening Days Of War

Ukraine has said on Friday Russia launched the largest single day of airstrikes ever conducted throughout nearly two years of war. At least 18 people were reported killed, and over a hundred wounded after several Ukrainian cities were pummeled in drone and missile attacks.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces cited that up to 158 missiles and drones were launched, describing that this was a "record number" and the "most massive missile attack" of the conflict, excluding the very opening few days of the invasion. This was said include ballistic and supersonic missiles, launched from air and sea. Ukraine's military claimed its anti-air defenses downed and intercepted the majority of these.

President Volodymyr Zelensky also said, "Today Russia hit us with almost everything it has in its arsenal." The attacks began overnight into Friday, with large explosions rocking Kiev, Dnipro, and places like Odessa in the south and Kharkiv in the east. Inbound projectiles were also seen as far from the front lines as Lviv, in the country's far west.

"It’s been a long time since we have seen so many enemy targets on our monitors in all regions and all directions," Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat told a television broadcast. "Everything was being fired."

Ukrainian officials said that among places hit were shopping centers, apartment blocks, schools and a hospital.

Map showing expands of Russia's major missile and drone operation on Friday.

Widespread rescue operations continued into the day Friday:

There was a strong smell of burning plastic as firefighters wearing oxygen masks tackled the blaze and a huge column of black smoke billowed into the sky, an AFP reporter saw.

There were believed to be 10 people trapped under the rubble, said the head of the city's military administration, Sergiy Popko.

AFP journalists also saw smoke near the building of Lukyanivska metro station close to the city center. Popko said the metro station had been damaged but it reopened later in the day.

Scenes in the far Western city of Lviv, which is rarely touched by the war, were as follows based on Ukrainian officials:

In Lviv, one person was killed and 15 wounded by drones and missiles that damaged high-rise blocks of flats and two schools, the interior ministry said.

An image released by the emergency services showed window frames blown out in a nine-story block of flats.

As expected, Ukraine is referencing the large-scale aerial assault as reason for allies to urgently authorize more defense funds for 2024. Tens of billions are currently being held up in US Congress and the European Union. 

Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak said the war-ravaged country needs "more support and strength to stop this terror" while US ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink immediately emphasized "Ukraine needs funding now".

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described Friday's assault as "yet another cowardly and indiscriminate" attack on civilians. The EU has been seeking to sidestep Hungary as it has sought to pass some €50 billion in funding, which remains blocked.

Smoke billows over Kiev on Friday as a result of the strikes, via Reuters.

Meanwhile, Orthodox Church Christmas is around the corner, and it's as yet unclear whether there might be a hoped-for "Christmas truce" between Russia and Ukraine - as was speculated last year (but didn't really materialize). Orthodox Christians in both countries celebrate the holiday on January 7 (according to when Dec.25 appears on the ecclesiastical/or Julian calendar).

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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