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Chernihiv strike shows lack of air defense resulting in civilian deaths, Kuleba says

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 17, 2024 2:34 PM 2 min read
Police stand in front infrastructure destroyed as a result of a missile attack on Chernihiv, Ukraine, on April 17, 2024. (Oleksiy Zhernov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC "UA:PBC"/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's lack of air defense supplies from its partners is resulting in the deaths of innocent people, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 17, after a Russian missile strike on Chernihiv killed at least 14 people.

"Three days ago in the Middle East, we saw what reliable protection of human lives from missiles looks like," Kuleba said. "Ukraine's partners have the necessary means to help us save Ukrainian lives with the same level of efficiency."

Iran carried out a massive aerial attack on Israel on April 14 and launched 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles, the vast majority of which were downed by Israel and its allies before they even reached Israeli territory.

In Ukraine, meanwhile, Russia has been intensifying its aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians this spring, highlighting growing shortages in Ukraine's air defense systems as a decision to provide $60 billion in aid remains stalled in the U.S. Congress.

Russia used three missiles to strike Chernihiv, a city around 120 kilometers (74 miles) northeast of Kyiv, at around 9 a.m. local time.

The attack destroyed an eight-story building and damaged surrounding buildings and vehicles. At least 60 people were injured, and among the dead is a 25-year-old female police lieutenant.

"These innocent people would not have been killed or injured if Ukraine had sufficient air defense capabilities," Kuleba said, echoing President Volodymyr Zelensky's remark that "this would not have happened if Ukraine had received enough air defense equipment."

Kuleba said he is grateful to Germany for deciding on April 13 to provide Ukraine with another Patriot system, and will "urge other partners to follow suit during my meetings with G7 allies in Italy this week."

Borrell says protection of Israeli, Ukrainian airspace ‘cannot be compared’
The question of why Western countries cannot defend Ukraine’s airspace in the same way they did for Israel is “well-founded,” but the two situations “cannot be compared,” Josep Borrel, the EU’s top diplomat, said on April 16.
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