Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday that new Russian drone and missile attacks killed at least seven people in two cities.
The state emergency service said one strike hit a school facility in Rzhyshchiv, a riverside town about 60 kilometers south of the capital of Kyiv, killing six and injuring 18 people, with three others still missing. The attack damaged two student residences and an educational building.
In the second attack, Ukrainian authorities said one person was killed and 33 wounded by twin missile attacks on two adjacent tall residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted Wednesday that Russia’s overnight attacks included “20 Iranian murderous drones, plus missiles, numerous shelling occasions.”
“Every time someone tries to hear the word ‘peace’ in Moscow, another order is given there for such criminal strikes,” Zelenskyy said as Russian President Vladimir Putin bid farewell to his visiting “dear friend,” Chinese President Xi Jinping, after talks in Moscow.
Putin on Tuesday praised Xi’s peace plan to end the Ukraine war, although it does not call for withdrawal of Russian troops as Zelenskyy has demanded before peace talks can start.
The Ukrainian leader said the success of his forces “brings peace closer” as he called for global unity and compliance with sanctions targeting Russia.
“Right now, residential areas where ordinary people and children live are being fired at,” Zelenskyy tweeted, with security camera video showing one of the buildings in Zaporizhzhia exploding as it was struck in broad daylight.
“This must not become ‘just another day’ in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world. The world needs greater unity and determination to defeat Russian terror faster and protect lives,” he wrote.
The carnage could have been worse; the Ukrainian military said it shot down 16 of 21 Iranian-made Shahed suicide drones that Russia launched.
Zelenskyy visited troops near the front line on Wednesday. His office released video of him handing out medals to soldiers, which it said was filmed near Bakhmut, the eastern city where Ukrainian forces are mounting a defense in what has become Europe’s deadliest infantry battle since World War II.
China, in a statement released as Xi left Moscow, said he and Putin “shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity.
Xi told Putin: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.”
“I agree,” Putin said, to which Xi responded: “Take care of yourself, dear friend, please.”
The U.S., Ukraine’s chief arms supplier, has rejected China’s peace plan because it would leave Russian territorial gains in eastern Ukraine in place.
“A ceasefire right now, freezing the lines where they are, basically gives [Putin] the time and space he needs to try to re-equip, to re-man, to make up for that resource expenditure,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.
Zelenskyy hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for talks Tuesday in Kyiv in the latest show of support from a world leader making a wartime stop in Ukraine.
“Paid a visit to Ukraine to show firm resolution of G-7 as Chair and saw the situation with my own eyes,” Kishida tweeted Wednesday. “Having in-depth discussions with President Zelenskyy, I renewed commitment to take the lead in the efforts to uphold the international order based on the rule of law.”
Japan is due to host a G-7 summit of the leaders of some of the world’s largest economies in Kishida’s hometown of Hiroshima in May. Tokyo has continually voiced support for Ukraine and joined rounds of sanctions against Russia. Kishida has said that the summit should demonstrate a strong will against Russia’s invasion and to uphold international order and rule of law.
Kishida’s trip was kept secret until the last minute for security reasons. It is rare for a Japanese leader to make an unannounced visit to another country.
Zelenskyy posted footage of him greeting Kishida, whom Zelenskyy called “a truly powerful defender of the international order and a longtime friend of Ukraine.”
Kishida also toured the town of Bucha, where Ukraine says more than 400 civilians were killed last year by Russian forces, and which has since become synonymous with the brutality of Moscow’s troops.
He laid a wreath outside a church before observing a moment of silence and bowing.
The world was astonished to see innocent civilians in Bucha killed one year ago. I really feel great anger at the atrocity upon visiting that very place here,” Kishida said.
“I would like to give condolences to all the victims and the wounded on behalf of the Japanese nationals,” he added. “Japan will keep aiding Ukraine with the greatest effort to regain peace.”
In an apparent response to Kishida’s trip, Russia’s defense ministry said Tuesday that two of its strategic bomber planes flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours.
Source – VOA