Russian forces began June with a fresh aerial bombardment of Kyiv that killed at least three people, including two children, and wounded several others, authorities said.
Following on from a reported 17 attacks on the Ukrainian capital in May, mostly using drones, Russian forces hit the capital early this morning (June 1), damaging apartment buildings and a medical clinic.
Two of the dead were children, according to city officials.
The toll of injured fluctuated in preliminary reports, but the casualties still were the most from one attack in the past month.
After a woman was killed watching an aerial attack from her balcony earlier this week, Kyiv authorities urged residents to stay in shelters or other safe locations.
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Ukraine’s air defences have become increasingly effective at intercepting Russian drones and missiles, but in some cases the resulting debris causes fires and injuries in buildings and on the ground.
Preliminary indications were that Kyiv’s air defences intercepted all incoming weapons early today, and that the latest deaths and injuries were caused by falling debris.
On Wednesday (May 31), Russian forces carried out three aerial attacks over the south of Kherson region, along with missile and heavy artillery strikes on other parts of the region.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has approved a new package of military aid for Ukraine that totals up to $300m (£242m) and includes additional munitions for drones and other weapons.
US officials have said there is no suggestion that US-made drones or munitions were used in the recent Moscow strikes, which the Kremlin blamed on Ukraine but Kyiv has not acknowledged.
The Biden administration has said it has made clear to Ukraine that US-made weapons should not be used for attacks inside Russian territory.
“We don’t tell them where to strike. We don’t tell them where not to strike. … Ultimately President Zelensky and his military commanders decide what they’re going to do from a military perspective,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
But he added that the US has been “very clear with the Ukrainians privately, we’ve certainly been clear publicly, that we do not support attacks inside Russia”.
He said Zelensky has given the US assurances that the Ukrainians respect those concerns.
The new aid package provides munitions to boost Ukraine’s air defence capabilities to fend off Russia’s air assaults on Kyiv.
It provides munitions for Patriot missile batteries and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well Avenger and Stinger air defence systems, mine-clearing equipment, anti-armour rounds, unguided Zuni aircraft rockets, night vision goggles, and about 30 million rounds of small arms ammunition and an undisclosed amount of other artillery rounds.
Moscow was targeted by a rare drone attack on Tuesday that lightly damaged residential buildings. Russian officials say the West, which throughout the grinding war has sought to keep the conflict from expanding beyond Ukraine, has not adequately condemned the attack on Russian soil.
Asked about Moscow’s criticism that the West is quietly supportive of attacks inside Russian territory, Mr Kirby scoffed that the Russians are “not going to believe anything I have to say” on the matter.