Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian cities kill 18, Zelenskiy says

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Russian missiles hit Ukraine's two largest cities, killing 18 people, injuring more than 130 and damaging homes and infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as Moscow's war approaches its third year.

The eastern city of Kharkiv suffered three waves of attacks. There were strikes on Kyiv and in central Ukraine and the southern region of Kherson, subject to constant shelling.

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address, said Russia had launched nearly 40 missiles of different types in "another combined strike to try to circumvent our air defence system".

More than 200 sites were hit, including 139 dwellings, with many deaths in "an ordinary high-rise apartment building. Ordinary people lived there," he said.

Kharkiv's mayor and the governor of Kharkiv region said eight people had been killed in the city, which has been subjected to repeated attacks in 23 months of war.

Ukraine's Emergency Services posted online a video of teams sifting through a shattered apartment building. Police said search operations were suspended before midnight as there was a danger of debris falling on rescue squads.

Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said more than 100 high-rise blocks had been damaged in the first two attacks. He said there were three hits in the evening on an apartment block and other infrastructure, injuring seven.

Ukraine's General Staff said the country's armed forces had destroyed 22 of 44 missiles of various types. Nearly 20 had been shot down over Kyiv, the city's military administration said.

The strikes coincided with Defence Minister Rustem Umerov telling the latest international ministerial meeting on Kyiv's defence needs that Russia was stepping up missile attacks.

Over the past two months, he said, Russian forces had used more than 600 missiles and more than 1,000 drones.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said after the meeting that Berlin would send six "Sea King" helicopters to Ukraine later this year, the first delivery of its kind.

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