Russia launched its largest air attack on Ukraine early Friday, targeting schools, hospitals, and homes across the country in what is being called one of the largest aerial barrages since the start of the war.
The missile attack killed at least 18 people and injured more than 130, according to officials. Government officials said prosecutors launched a war crimes investigation into the attacks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that his country would “surely respond to terrorist strikes” and that “Russian terror must and will lose.”
In Kharkiv, the second-largest city in northeast Ukraine, authorities reported more than 20 missile launches, leaving three people killed and 13 injured. The blasts damaged warehouses, a medical facility, and a transport depot.
In the city of Dnipro, six people died and 30 were injured as a shopping center and a maternity hospital were damaged.
Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said the entire country had become a target in a “powerful blow.”
“We haven’t seen so much red on our monitors in a very long time,” he said. “In all regions, in all directions.”
U.S. President Joe Biden released a lengthy statement condemning the attacks, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin “must be stopped”.
“Strikes reportedly hit a maternity hospital, a shopping mall, and residential areas — killing innocent people and injuring dozens more. It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, Putin’s objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped,” Biden said in a written statement.
Biden also added help from the United States has run out, calling on Congress to pass supplemental aid for Ukraine in the new year.
“The American people can be proud of the lives we have helped to save and the support we have given Ukraine as it defends its people, its freedom, and its independence. But unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people. Congress must step up and act without any further delay,” he added.