30 killed, over 160 injured in Russia's biggest air attack on Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claims Russia used nearly "every type of weapon in its arsenal"

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Rescuers work at the site where a residential building was damaged during a Russian missile and drone strike, amid Russias attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine December 29, 2023. — Reuters
Rescuers work at the site where a residential building was damaged during a Russian missile and drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine December 29, 2023. — Reuters 
  • 114 of 158 missiles, drones were shot down, Ukraine's air force says.
  • This was "record number" of missiles, claims Air Force spokesperson.
  • Biden urges Congress to "act without any further delay."

 At least 30 people were killed and over 160 were injured after Russia launched its biggest missile barrage during its war on Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities on Friday morning, Ukraine said on Saturday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a statement, claimed that Russia "used nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal", targeting residences as well as a maternity hospital.

Russia's air defences, which were overpowered on Friday, have significantly improved, according to Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson.

He added that Russia used hypersonic, cruise and ballistic missiles, including X-22 type, which are difficult to intercept, adding: "We've never seen so many targets hit simultaneously."

The air force said 114 of 158 missiles and drones had been shot down. This degree of destruction could only be brought about by a direct missile hit.

For months, the damage and fatalities that Ukrainians continuously anticipated were primarily caused by falling debris. Now, a greater menace has reappeared.

Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said that this was a "record number" of missiles and "the most massive missile attack" of the war, excluding the early days of constant bombardment.

The United Nations (UN) condemned the attacks and said they must stop "immediately", AFP reported.

"Regrettably, today’s appalling assaults were only the latest in a series of escalating attacks by the Russian Federation," said UN assistant secretary-general Mohamed Khiari.

Meanwhile, Poland reported that a Russian missile passed through its airspace as Polish armed forces' Chief of the General Staff General Wieslaw Kukula said: "Everything indicates that a Russian missile entered Polish airspace... It also left."

In the face of sustained Russian assaults, Ukraine is urging Western allies to maintain military support.

United States President Joe Biden called on Congress to overcome its division to approve new aid for Ukraine, after Washington released its final package of weaponry under existing agreements still to be renewed by Congress.

"Unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defence systems Ukraine needs to protect its people," Biden said.

"Congress must step up and act without any further delay."

Britain announced it would send hundreds more air-defence missiles to Kyiv after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared that the United Kingdom "must continue to stand with Ukraine — for as long as it takes".