(CTN NEWS) – Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, pledged on Saturday to give Ukraine tanks and artillery systems as Moscow resumed missile attacks against several Ukrainian cities for the first time in two weeks.
According to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, nine people were killed and 64 others were hurt in the southeast Ukrainian city of Dnipro, where a Russian missile strike demolished a portion of an apartment complex.
Infrastructure facilities were also damaged in northeastern Kharkiv, the Odesa region on the Black Sea, the Ivano-Frankivsk region, and the western Lviv region. The capital, Kyiv, was also a target.
After speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday, Sunak promised to send Challenger 2 tanks and other artillery systems, according to a statement from the British leader’s Downing Street office.
Neither the number of tanks nor the delivery date was specified. Without specifying any sources, the British media reported that four British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks would be dispatched to Eastern Europe immediately, followed by eight more.
“For the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield but also convey the proper signal to other allies,” Zelenskyy thanked Sunak in a tweet on Saturday.
Always strong support of the UK is now impenetrable and ready for challenges. In a conversation with the Prime Minister, @RishiSunak, I thanked for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 14, 2023
Ukraine has been requesting bigger tanks, such as the American Abrams and German Leopard 2 tanks, for months, but Western authorities have remained cautious.
The Ukrainian army received T-72 tanks from the Soviet era from Poland and the Czech Republic. Poland has also stated its willingness to contribute to a company of Leopard tanks.
But President Andrzej Duda emphasized during a recent trip to the Ukrainian city of Lviv that such a contribution would only be feasible as part of a bigger international coalition providing tank assistance to Kyiv.
France announced earlier this month that it will send Ukrainian forces AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles, also known as “light tanks.”
The first time sending of Bradley combat vehicles and Marder armored personnel carriers, respectively, was announced by the United States and Germany the same week.
Sunak made his remark as Russian forces launched their first significant missile barrage in days on Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine on Saturday.
Rescuers in Dnipro were attempting to evacuate those who were stuck in the upper stories of the apartment building while some of them were signaling with the flashlights on their mobile phones, Tymoshenko stated on Telegram.
He added that there were probably individuals hiding behind the debris.
Gov. Oleh Syniehubov reported that two Russian missiles struck an infrastructure object once more on Saturday afternoon in the northeastern Kharkiv region, following a similar incident earlier that day.
According to its Telegram channel, the Kharkiv metro ceased service amid the attacks.
According to Governor Maksym Kozytskyi, another infrastructure site was damaged in the western Lviv area.
As further air raid sirens sounded across the nation in the afternoon, air defense systems were also activated in other regions of Ukraine, and local officials encouraged citizens to take cover.
The governor of the southern Mykolaiv district, Vitali Kim, suggested in a Telegram message that some missiles may have been deflected over his territory.
According to Russia’s top military commander Valeri Zaluzhny, 33 cruise missiles were launched by Russia on Saturday, 21 of which were intercepted.
Explosions had also shaken Kyiv earlier in the day. It was rare for the blasts to come before air sirens. Because ballistic missiles, which are faster than cruise missiles or drones, were used in the attack, it is possible that the explosions occurred before the warning sirens.
Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, claimed that Russia launched ballistic missiles at Kyiv from the north.
He informed the local media, “The ballistics are not easy for us to locate and shoot down. Because there was a shortage of radar data and other information, the missile threat warning was delayed.”
According to Ukrainian officials, the morning missile attack hit a target that was part of the infrastructure.
Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko reported hearing explosions in the Dniprovskyi neighborhood, a residential region on the Dnieper River’s left bank.
According to Klitschko, a building there momentarily caught fire when missile fragments fell on a non-residential area in the Holosiivskyi neighborhood on the right bank. So far, there have been no recorded casualties.
Since January 1, there have been no prior attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
Two Russian missiles struck Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, early Saturday morning. According to governor Syniehubov, “energy and industrial objects of Kharkiv and the (outlying) region” were the targets of the S-300 missile attacks.
Although there have been no confirmed casualties, the official warned that there could be unexpected power outages in the city and nearby communities.
According to mayor Vitalii Barabash, three persons were killed by Russian shelling on Saturday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, where fighting is most intense.
According to Reznichenko, a rocket strike in the Dnipropetrovsk region’s Kryvyi Rih claimed the life of one individual.
The attacks come in response to contradicting information regarding what has become of Soledar, a hotly contested salt mining town in Ukraine’s troubled east.
After a string of devastating defeats on the battlefield, Russia claims to have taken the town. If true, this would be a remarkable success for the Kremlin.
On Saturday, Hanna Malyar, the deputy minister of defense of Ukraine, stated that “fierce fights for Soledar are continuing.”
Moscow has portrayed the battle for the town and the neighboring city of Bakhmut as essential to capturing the eastern part of the Donbas, which includes the partially occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
As well as a means of destroying the best Ukrainian forces and preventing them from mounting counterattacks elsewhere.
On the other hand, Ukraine claims that its tenacious defense of the eastern strongholds has assisted in containing Russian forces. Western officials and analysts claim that the significance of the two towns is more symbolic than tactical.
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