KYIV/BRUSSELS, Oct 13 – Russia fired missiles at the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Thursday, officials said, after the U.N. General Assembly condemned Moscow’s attempt to annex four Ukrainian regions and Kiev’s allies committed more military aid.
“A five-story residential building was hit, the top two floors were completely destroyed, the rest was under rubble. Rescuers are working on the scene,” Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said in a post on social media, adding that the southern city was “massively shelled.” “.
A shipbuilding center and port on the Southern Bug River on the Black Sea, Mykolaiv suffered from heavy Russian bombing during the war.
In New York, three-quarters of the 193-member General Assembly – 143 countries – voted Wednesday in favor of a resolution calling Moscow’s move illegal and deepening Russia’s international isolation.
Only four countries – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus – joined Russia in voting against the resolution. Thirty-five countries abstained, including Russia’s strategic partner China, while the rest did not vote.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter that he was “grateful to the 143 states that supported the historic #UNGA resolution … (Russia’s) attempt at annexation is worthless.”
In Brussels, more than 50 Western countries gathered to pledge more military aid to Ukraine, particularly air defense weapons, after heavy retaliatory strikes ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in response to a bridge explosion in Crimea.
Pledges from allies included France announcing that it would supply Ukraine with radars and air defense systems in the coming weeks. Britain has pledged air defense missiles and Canada has said it will provide artillery rounds, among other supplies.
At a meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Brussels, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the latest Russian attacks revealed their “anger and cruelty” since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. At least 26 people have been killed in Russian missile attacks since Monday. throughout Ukraine.
Ukraine has shifted momentum since September thanks to extraordinary gains, but will need more help, he said. “…We’re going to do everything we can to make sure they have what it takes to be effective,” Austin told reporters.
ZELENSKIY RELUCTANT TO STOP THE WAR
Since Monday’s attacks, Germany has sent the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems, while Washington said it would speed up delivery of the promised NASAMS air defense system.
Zelensky said the increased aid would strengthen the counteroffensive.
“The more aid Ukraine gets now, the sooner we will end the Russian war,” Zelenskiy said via video at a forum during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.
In September, Moscow announced the annexation of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – after organizing a referendum. Ukraine and allies condemned the vote as illegal and coercive.
The General Assembly vote followed Russia’s veto of a similar resolution in the 15-member Security Council last month.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, told the General Assembly ahead of the vote that the resolution was “politicized and openly provocative”, adding that it “could destroy all efforts in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis”.
The moves at the UN mirror what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. The General Assembly then passed a resolution declaring the referendum invalid with 100 votes in favor, 11 against, and 58 formal abstentions.
The United States and other Western countries lobbied ahead of Wednesday’s vote. They received dozens of votes more than the 2014 result, bettering the 141 countries that voted to condemn Russia and demand that it withdraw its troops from Ukraine within a week of the invasion.
DEATH REPORTED AT AVDIIVKA MARKET
Air raid sirens sounded in parts of Ukraine on Wednesday for the third day. The Ukrainian governor of the partially occupied Donetsk province said that seven people were killed in front-line Russian shelling of the marketplace in the town of Avdiivka. Reuters was unable to verify reports from the battlefield.
There were reports of some shelling elsewhere, but no sign of the nationwide strikes of the previous two days. Pope Francis condemned the bombings, which are part of what he called a “hurricane of violence”.
Ukraine’s military said its forces had consolidated control over several settlements recaptured by Russian troops on the west bank of the Dnieper River, near the Russian-occupied town of Beryslav in the Kherson region.
Transatlantic Alliance NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russian missile attacks are a sign of weakness. “Russia is actually losing on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said.
As his forces have lost ground since September, Putin has escalated the conflict, ordering the call-up of hundreds of thousands of reservists, announcing the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons to protect Russia.
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he doubted Putin would resort to it. Putin is a “rational player who grossly miscalculated,” he told CNN, adding that he believed the Russian leader expected his invasion troops to be welcomed.
A senior NATO official said a Russian nuclear strike would change the course of the conflict and almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies — “and potentially NATO itself.”
Zelensky said Ukraine needs about $55 billion in financial support next year — $38 billion to close the budget deficit and $17 billion to restore critical infrastructure such as schools and housing.