Ukraine urges EU to step up munition deliveries as Russia hits Kiev

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba after their meeting. -/Ukrinform/dpa
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba after their meeting. -/Ukrinform/dpa
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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the European Union to step up its efforts to procure artillery shells, as the death toll from a barrage of Russian missiles on the Ukrainian capital rose to 30.

"We have the biggest war here in Europe since the Second World War, we need these shells to protect Europe," Kuleba said on Wednesday at a press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Kiev.

"Today we are talking about the defense of Europe, and we need extraordinary measures," he said.

Specifically, he suggested the EU should change or terminate existing munitions contracts with third countries and divert those orders to Ukraine.

Kuleba argued that there are still a lot of artillery shells in stockpiles around the world. The EU ought to "triple" its efforts to ensure that these shells reach Europe and thus Ukraine.

Borrell had admitted at the end of January that the EU's ambitious plans to supply Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery shells within a year had failed, with only a bit more than half the promised amount expected to be delivered by the end of March.

The new goal is now to reach the 1-million mark at least this year, with member states pledging to deliver around 630,000 more shells between March and year's end.

"We are giving top priority to deliveries to Ukraine and are even delaying the increase in our own arsenals," Borrell said.

More weapons can not come soon enough, with the death toll from Russian airstrikes on the Ukrainian capital at four, with more than 30 injured, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday.

One of the injured was a pregnant woman who had to be rescued from a high-rise building.

According to Klitschko, there were power cuts in the capital Kiev after two high-voltage power lines were damaged by falling rocket debris. The heating supply on the left bank of the Dnipro was also affected.

Emergency services were deployed to extinguish fires, including in an 18-storey apartment block, and burning cars.

According to the authorities, it was the third Russian missile assault on the capital this year. Klitschko called on people to seek safety in shelters. The EU's Borrell, on an official visit to Kiev, had to seek safety, according to a post of his on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia's "terrorist attack" on six regions of the country, and said there would be retaliation.

In the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, the authorities reported destruction to buildings and casualties from the Russian missile strikes.

Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych announced on Telegram that one injured person had died of his injuries in hospital.

Water pipes and the gas network had also been damaged by the enemy attacks, said Sienkevych, who also published pictures of the destruction. Twenty residential buildings were left without roofs.

According to the air defence system, around 20 Russian cruise missiles were fired in the morning in Kiev and the surrounding area alone. They were launched from Russian strategic Tupolev Tu-95MS bombers.

The air force said that a number of drones were shot down. Other regions of Ukraine were also affected by the attacks, including Kharkiv in the east and the Lviv region in the west.

The commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, announced that a total of 44 out of 64 air targets had been destroyed, including drones and cruise missiles. Russia once again used its feared Iskander surface-to-surface ballistic missile, he said.

Later on Wednesday, two people were injured by rocket fire in the western Russian region of Belgorod, authorities said.

A man was treated on site and a second wounded man was taken to hospital, the region's governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on his blog on Telegram.

The windows in two high-rise buildings in the city were shattered. Gladkov said around 15 vehicles were damaged. There was also damage on the premises of an industrial company.

The information could not initially be independently verified.

The attack may have been a response to heavy Russian drone and missile attacks on Kiev and other cities overnight.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago and has repeatedly attacked residential housing and infrastructure, causing severe damage and civilian casualties.

Russian border regions are now also seeing increasing shelling. However, the damage and number of victims are disproportionate to those of the Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a press conference with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell after their meeting. -/Ukrinform/dpa
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a press conference with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell after their meeting. -/Ukrinform/dpa