(update: upgrades casualties, adds details throughout, edits headline, lede)
Lviv, Ukraine, Dec 29 (EFE).- Russia struck Ukraine with nearly 160 missiles and drones on Friday, the Ukrainian Air Force said, killing dozens of people and wounding over 100 others in cities across the country.
It was the largest wave of attacks since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.
At least 22 civilians have died and 130 were wounded in the missile strikes, which also caused severe damage in cities across Ukraine.
Five people were killed in Kyiv, six in Dnipro, seven in Zaporizhia (south) and four in Odesa (south).
Officials fear the death toll was likely to rise as rescue efforts were still ongoing.
Over 120 missiles and 36 drones were launched in the early hours of Friday morning, followed by another wave of missiles after noon.
Eighty-seven missiles and 27 drones were shot down by air defenses, Ukrainian commander-in-chief Valeri Zaluzhni reported, while the rest hit “objects of essential infrastructure and industrial and military objects.”
A maternity and children’s hospital and a shopping center in Dnipro, an apartment building in Odesa and a metro station in the capital Kyiv were damaged, along with several schools in Lviv and houses in numerous cities.
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on X that Russia had used “nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal” during the barrage.
“We will continue to fight for the security of our entire country, every city, and every citizen. Russian terror must and will lose,” Zelenskyy said.
In the wake of the attack, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for “continued, robust, and long-term military and financial assistance.”
“Only greater firepower can silence Russian terror,” he said.
During the barrage, a Russian missile is believed to have briefly entered Polish airspace, Poland’s defense minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz told a Warsaw press conference.
An object that “was, by all indications, a Russian missile (…) was tracked until it left Polish airspace”, adding that its course was confirmed by “allied” radar systems.
Some 200 police officers were deployed to the border area with Ukraine to search for potential signs that the missile had crashed on Poland’s territory. EFE