Kyiv asks NATO allies for air defences after Russia hits infrastructure

Russia carried out its largest air strike on Ukraine's energy system since its invasion in February 2022, damaging power units at a dam and causing blackouts for more than a million people

Reuters
Published : 28 March 2024, 05:41 PM
Updated : 28 March 2024, 05:41 PM

Ukraine's defence minister asked allies for more air defences at an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council on Thursday and said nearly all the impact from Russian strikes this year had been on civilian infrastructure.

Last Friday, Russia carried out its largest air strike on Ukraine's energy system since its invasion in February 2022, damaging power units at a dam and causing blackouts for more than a million people.

Moscow has described its recent attacks as part of a series of "revenge" strikes in response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian regions. Russia has increased its use of ballistic missiles.

Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said the support of allies on air defences was crucial and that it could save thousands of lives.

"The total explosive power of combined air attacks on Ukraine since the beginning of the year exceeds 9 kilotons," he wrote on X after addressing participants via video link.

"Only 3% of those Russian missiles, drones and guided bombs hit military targets, while 97% struck civilian infrastructure," he wrote.

Reuters was unable to verify that figure.

Russia denies targeting civilians, although the war that began with its invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, uprooted millions and destroyed towns and cities.

Russia has stepped up its airstrikes on Ukraine this month.

Last week alone, it has used almost 190 missiles, 140 attack drones and 700 guided bombs, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said earlier.