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Biden pledges more air defense systems for Ukraine after Russian strikes

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ZAPORIZHZHIA, UKRAINE - A group of firefighters rest in the damaged area after Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on October 10, 2022. (Jose Colon - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 11, 2022 - 02:38 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself from Russian attacks, including advanced air defense systems, following the Kremlin’s widespread strikes on Monday.

Biden “expressed his condemnation of Russia’s missile strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, and conveyed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks,” during a telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the White House said.

“President Biden pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems,” it said in a statement.

“He also underscored his ongoing engagement with allies and partners to continue imposing costs on Russia, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance,” the executive mansion added.

Zelenskyy separately said anti-air systems are Kyiv’s “number 1 priority in our defense cooperation” with the US.

“We also need US leadership with the G7’s tough stance and with support for our UN GA resolution,” he said on Twitter, referring to the UN General Assembly.

The death toll from Russia’s attacks across Ukraine rose to 11 with dozens more wounded on Monday, authorities announced. Some 64 people were injured during the shelling, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

“If we talk about the whole of Ukraine, then, in addition to Kyiv, hits were recorded in 14 other regions of the state,” said Mariana Reva, spokeswoman for the National Police of Ukraine.

In a video message released on Telegram, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s energy facilities and people were Russia’s two main targets. The president reiterated his call for residents to stay in shelters.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russian attacks damaged a total of 11 critical infrastructure sites across eight regions of Ukraine, Kyiv Independent reported.

“The main goal of these war criminals is to sow panic, to frighten, and to leave Ukrainians without light and heat,” Shmyhal added.

Multiple explosions were reported in the Ukrainian cities of Odesa, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky, Dnipro, Lviv, Ternopil, and Kyiv, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukrainian intelligence of carrying out what he called a “terrorist attack” on the Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to Crimea.

Russia has illegally occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula since 2014, and Putin opened the bridge in 2018 as a symbol of Russia’s hold on the territory.

Due to Monday’s strikes, the Philharmonic building in Kyiv as well as the Hanenko and Shevchenko museums and Shevchenko Park were damaged.

“Putin’s only tactic is terror on peaceful Ukrainian cities, but he will not break Ukrainedown,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

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