Russian air strikes hit targets across Ukraine

Russia launched dozens of aerial attacks at targets across Ukraine, including usually safer parts of the country, amid growing concerns in Kyiv that the west’s attention has shifted away from the conflict and its support could dry up.

Ukrainian officials said the strikes included 40 Iranian-made Shaheed drones as well as missiles that targeted 10 regions, including the city of Lviv near the Polish border, which had not been hit since September. More than half of the drones were shot down, said president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“As winter approaches, Russian terrorists will try to cause more harm. We will be fighting back,” Zelenskyy wrote on social media platform X, as the country braces for another campaign targeting its energy infrastructure.

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The Ukrainian leader is seeking to keep Russia’s war on the global agenda, as focus has shifted to the Israel-Hamas conflict and there is doubt about whether US lawmakers will approve a new assistance package for Kyiv. The Republican-led Congress on Thursday approved $14bn in new aid to Israel, but the bill faces resistance in the Senate and opposition from the White House because it fails to fund Ukraine.

There was no immediate comment from Zelenskyy about the US Congressional vote. “I am proud of everyone who fights for Ukraine . . . who help us from all corners of the world,” he said on Thursday evening. Earlier in the week, Zelenskyy met a bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers and said that “continuing such assistance is the key to our country’s success in countering Russian aggression”.

Zelenskyy’s administration has repeatedly called on the US and other western allies for additional air defences and more offensive weaponry to boost a counteroffensive launched this summer which has struggled to liberate some 18 per cent of territory still occupied by Russia’s forces.

Kyiv has for years enjoyed strong bipartisan support in the US, where president Joe Biden and his Democratic party are pushing a $106bn funding package that groups together aid for Israel and Ukraine, including more than $60bn for Kyiv alone.

But concern has mounted in Kyiv that financial and arms supplies from its single largest backer could be jeopardised ahead of next year’s US presidential elections, with divisions already deepening within the Republican party where loyalists of presidential candidate Donald Trump have questioned further assistance for Ukraine.

Officials did not immediately report fatalities from the overnight air strikes on Friday. But infrastructure was damaged in Lviv, Odesa, Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Kharkiv’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, posted a photo of himself standing outside a bombed-out historic building previously used by a local college.

“As a result of night-time enemy attacks, the building of one of the city’s educational institutions was seriously damaged,” Terekhov said. He added that a service station and a hostel for displaced people were hit.

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