Thousands shelter from Kyiv missile barrage, hours after Biden’s national security adviser visits

Thousands shelter from Kyiv missile barrage, hours after Biden’s national security adviser visits - International News - News

Massive Missile Attack on Kyiv: Thousands Seek Shelter Amidst Fear and Uncertainty

The Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv witnessed a heavy missile attack in the early hours of Thursday, marking the first such incident in over six weeks. The assault came just hours after a visit by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to the city.

Over 25,000 people sought refuge in Kyiv’s metro stations as sirens wailed and air raid warnings echoed through the streets. Videos and images circulating on social media showed large crowds huddled together in cramped underground spaces, reminiscent of the initial days of the ongoing war.

According to officials, Russia launched two ballistic missiles and 29 cruise missiles towards the Kyiv region. All of these were reportedly intercepted, although the exact types of missiles used remain to be confirmed through testing. Initial reports suggest that at least some of the missiles could potentially be of North Korean origin, based on a statement from the Ukrainian Air Force.

Approximately a dozen people were reportedly injured due to falling debris; fortunately, no fatalities have been recorded thus far. Among the affected was Valentyna Ivanivna, an 80-year-old resident of Kyiv’s Podil district, who was awoken by a massive blast at around 5 a.m. that shattered her windows. Despite being shaken and losing her kitchen and living room windows, she miraculously managed to escape injury herself.

Meanwhile, Anastasia Shulha, the owner of a flower shop, shared her frustration as her store’s main window and front door were both severely damaged during the attack. “This is the second time my shop has suffered an assault,” she stated, lamenting that she would have to remain at her premises until the necessary repairs could be made.

Despite the reported absence of hits to critical infrastructure or residential buildings, images and videos show a large crater just meters away from high-rise residential structures. Nearby cars were seen covered in soil dislodged by the impact.

Over 25,000 people, including 3,000 children, took shelter in Kyiv’s metro stations until shortly after 6 a.m., when the air raid warning was lifted. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky took to social media to emphasize the importance of continued military support from allies, following the latest attack.

“Russian terrorists do not possess missiles capable of bypassing the defense systems of US-made PATRIOTs and other world-leading systems. The need for this protection is now more crucial than ever in Ukraine,” he wrote.

The Ukrainian Air Force statement suggested that the ballistic missiles used could be of two types: either the KN-23, an Iskander-M class missile manufactured in North Korea, or the Kh-47M2 (Kinzhal), a Russian-made missile. In late January, a Ukrainian official alleged that North Korean weapons had been used by Russia on numerous occasions to strike Ukraine.

U.S. and South Korean officials have accused North Korea of providing Russia with missiles and other military equipment in recent months. In January, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that Russia had fired North Korean-made missiles at Ukraine on December 30 and January 2.

Kirby, as well as analysts speaking with News Finder, expressed concern over the North Korean weapons’ introduction into the conflict in Ukraine and its potential implications for the Korean Peninsula. “This is a significant and concerning escalation in the DPRK’s support for Russia,” Kirby stated.

On February 26, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik reported that North Korean munitions factories were producing weapons and shells for Russia at full capacity. In return, Russia was supplying North Korea with food and other essentials.

On Wednesday, Sullivan reassured reporters in Kyiv that he remained confident the US House of Representatives would eventually approve additional military aid for Ukraine, despite numerous attempts being blocked for months. Current discussions on Capitol Hill are believed to be focusing on securing some form of loan to potentially win over House Republicans’ support.

“We are confident we will secure a strong bipartisan vote in the House for an assistance package for Ukraine,” Sullivan stated during his first visit to Ukraine by a top White House official in six months. “It’s already taken too long… I won’t make predictions about exactly when this will get done.”