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Ukraine leader to ask G7 for air defence weapons after Russian strikes

KYIV — President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will ask the leaders of the G7 group of nations to urgently supply Ukraine with air defence weapons on Tuesday (Oct 11), after Russia rained down cruise missiles on cities across the country.

Local residents examine a crater following a missile strike in Dnipro on Oct 10, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Local residents examine a crater following a missile strike in Dnipro on Oct 10, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

KYIV — President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will ask the leaders of the G7 group of nations to urgently supply Ukraine with air defence weapons on Tuesday (Oct 11), after Russia rained down cruise missiles on cities across the country.

New missile strikes killed at least one person in the southeastern town of Zaporizhzhia and left part of the Western city of Lviv without power, officials said, after Ukraine woke up to the wailing of air raid sirens for a second day.

Other parts of the country remained blacked out after the cruise missile attacks on Monday which officials said killed 19 people in the biggest air raids since the start of the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, under domestic pressure to ramp up the conflict as his forces have lost ground since the start of September, said he ordered the strikes as revenge for an explosion that damaged Russia's bridge to annexed Crimea.

Kyiv and its allies condemned Monday's attacks, which mainly hit civil infrastructure such as power stations. Missiles also landed in parks, tourist sites and busy rush hour streets.

United States President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders will convene virtually later on Tuesday to discuss what more they can do to support Ukraine and to listen to Mr Zelenskiy, who has called air defence systems his "number 1 priority". Mr Biden has already promised more air defences.

The broad avenues of the capital Kyiv were largely deserted after air raid sirens resounded as the morning rush hour was beginning — the same time that Russian missiles struck on Monday. Residents took cover again deep in the underground Metro, where trains were still running.

Ms Viktoriya Moshkivski, 35, her husband and their two sons were among hundreds of people waiting for the all-clear in the Zoloti Vorota station, near a park where a missile ripped a crater next to a playground on Monday.

"(Putin) thinks that if he scares the population, he can ask for concessions, but he is not scaring us. He is pissing us off," she said as her sons, Timur, 5, and Rinat, 3, sat by her side on a sleeping bag, the younger playing with a King Kong action figure.

MORE STRIKES

Russia said it continued to launch long-range air strikes on Ukraine's energy and military infrastructure on Tuesday, although the attacks did not seem as intense as the day before.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the main targets were energy facilities.

"They’ve hit many yesterday and they hit the same and new ones today. These are war crimes planned well in advance and aimed at creating unbearable conditions for civilians — Russia’s deliberate strategy since months," he wrote on Twitter.

The governor of the southern town of Mykolayiv said Russia seemed to have changed tactics.

"They launch rockets more than once so that our people can wait and our air defence can work, but at intervals they launch significantly fewer rockets and keep people in shelters. What is this if not terror?" he said on national television.

In Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine's sixth-largest city, apartment blocks have been struck overnight at least three times in the past week, killing civilians while they slept. Moscow has denied intentionally targeting them.

The city remained under Ukrainian control after Russia occupied most of the surrounding province, among four partially occupied regions that Moscow claims to have annexed this month.

In an overnight video address from the scene of one of the attacks in Kyiv, Mr Zelenskiy promised that Ukraine would keep fighting.

"We will do everything to strengthen our armed forces. We will make the battlefield more painful for the enemy."

As many as 301 settlements in the regions of Kyiv, Lviv, Sumy, Ternopil and Khmelnytsky remained without electricity on Tuesday.

Faced with blackouts, Ukraine has halted electricity exports to neighbouring Moldova and the European Union, at a time when the continent already faces surging power prices.

BELARUS FEARS

G7 leaders are also expected to issue a warning to Belarus, Moscow's closest ally, after Minsk said on Monday it was deploying soldiers with Russian forces near Ukraine in response to what it called a threat from Kyiv and its Western allies.

Belarus, whose troops have not yet crossed into Ukraine, could face more sanctions if it gets more involved in the Ukraine conflict, French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna told French radio. Russia had violated the rules of war with Monday's attacks, she added.

Moscow has accused the West of escalating the conflict by supporting Ukraine.

"We warn and hope that they realise the danger of uncontrolled escalation in Washington and other Western capitals," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency on Tuesday.

Since Ukrainian forces broke through Russia's front lines in September, Mr Putin has not only announced the annexation of Ukrainian territory but also called up hundreds of thousands of reservists and repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons.

The director of Britain's GCHQ spy agency said it would expect to see signs if Russia was considering deploying nuclear arms but that its ground forces were running out of supplies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would not turn down a meeting between Putin and Biden at a forthcoming G20 meeting and would consider the proposal if it receives one.

Mr Putin on Tuesday met the president of the United Arab Emirates, a member of the group of oil producers known as OPEC+ that rebuffed the United States last week by announcing steep production cuts.

State news agency WAM had said President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan would push for "military de-escalation". REUTERS

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Ukraine Russia war Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelenskiy invasion missile

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